With bronze shovels in hand, Pinecrest Village council members eagerly dug a hole in the soil in front of Village Hall in celebration of their 20th anniversary.
They hope that in three decades that very hole will take others back in time.
“One of the activities that we have chosen to do is bury a time capsule that will encapsulate a lot of the resources that we have created over the last 20 years,” Mayor Cindy Lerner said during Monday’s ceremony. “We are hoping that we will be able to create the legacy, that in 30 years at the 50th anniversary, we will be able to share what life was like, what Pinecrest was like.”
Inside the capsule: a copy of that day’s Miami Herald; Pinecrest Tribune’s 20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition; a replica of a Pinecrest street sign; an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol at the request of Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen; a bronze reproduction of the Village seal; a Pinecrest Police Department patch; items from local schools including T-shirts and yearbooks; along with various items with the Village’s 20th anniversary logo.
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“Several of us have grandchildren living here in Pinecrest,” Lerner added. “I have two little boys; grandchildren. I’m hoping in 30 years they’ll be back living in this community with their own families, and they’ll be here and be able to see the life that we led when they were babies and toddlers, and their grandmother was the mayor of the Village.
During the brief ceremony, City Clerk Guido Inguanzo Jr. said he has already “delegated certain staff members the responsibility of making sure that in 30 years this time capsule is opened.”
“I was not being facetious,” he told the Miami Herald, giggling. “We actually assigned that task to the assistant clerk who we trust will be around in 30 years to take care of it — a lot of pressure, I know.”
After the short ceremony, council members and Village staff walked over the former site of the Miami Serpentarium where they unveiled a historical marker commemorating the once-iconic attraction, also in honor of their anniversary. Today, the site is a shopping plaza.
“The Miami Serpentarium was founded in 1946 by Bill Haast and was one of Florida’s first tourist attractions with 50,000 visitors each year,” Village spokesperson Michelle Hammontree said. “Haast’s intuitive foresight, determination, pioneering efforts, and sacrifice are credited with advancing the use of venoms in science and medicine.”
Haast’s widow, Nancy Haast, along with Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill were special guests at the event.
“It was my first job here,” said Ron Magill, Zoo Miami’s communications director. “ I had a seed planted in me working as a 17-year-old, an 18-year-old. That developed into this 36-year career at Zoo Miami, of being able to travel around the world and learn about wildlife.”
In his hands was “Prince the Python,” a 100-pound albino Burmese python, who he raised since he hatched from an egg more than 13 years ago.
“The Miami Serpentarium was an iconic place where people came to learn about snakes and hopefully learn not to be totally frightened of them; to understand them,” he said. “Snakes are part of our Pinecrest and South Florida community.”