Bruce Matheson’s opposition to the Sony Open is ironic ( Reject misuse of Crandon Park, Nov. 1, Readers’ Forum).
The “gift” of Crandon Park to Dade County years ago was less a gift and more a trade. At the time, a few wealthy families, including Matheson’s, owned much of the island of Key Biscayne, which was pristine and accessible only by boat. In exchange for the county’s agreement to build a bridge, the families gave the north part of the island to the county for a public park.
The benefit to the wealthy families was clear — the rest of the land could be commercially developed and sold. The benefit to the public was equally clear. Some of the most valuable land in South Florida would be preserved forevermore for public park use.
The relationship between the Sony Open and the county is no different. The tournament not only does not detract from the public’s use of the public park, it enhances it. There is no event in South Florida as important as the annual Sony Open. Hundreds of millions in direct economic benefit — last year, $387 million — are pumped into our community each year.
During the two weeks of Tournament play, thousands enjoy both the park and the event. During the other 50 weeks of the year, the public enjoys the Crandon Park Tennis Center, which exists because of the tournament. A bridge for a park turned out to be a pretty good trade.
Eugene E. Stearns, Miami