Thanks to the Miami Herald for exposing the progress, or lack of it, for the decade-old Flagstone project. In 2001, Miami voters approved leasing public environmentally sensitive land on Watson Island.
As 2015 approaches, there is still no progress, but the developer’s politicians and lobbyists somehow manage to keep the plan for a marina, hotel and shopping afloat.
During the past 14 years, as the project stays alive by pushing dirt, the surrounding cities of Miami and Miami Beach have moved light years ahead. New condos in downtown Miami have been built. Hundreds of new residents have created a new destination there. The Children’s Museum on Watson Island thrives with a full-time school. There is a new tunnel, a beautiful new art museum and a soon-to-be-completed Museum of Science all within a stone’s throw of the faltering Flagstone project.
The city of Miami Beach has become a major destination, with its share of daily traffic congestion on the MacArthur Causeway — the single entryway to Watson Island.
So the questions remain: Is Flagstone’s project, called Island Gardens, still relevant considering the time lapse and the missed deadlines for completion?
Why did Flagstone win the bid for valuable public land in 2002 if it still does not have the financial stability to build the project after 14 years?
Why does the project still move forward without an updated traffic study, including all of the new projects that have emerged in the area over these past 14 years?
Last, when will the city of Miami call an end to this nonstarter and reclaim the valuable public land for use by the public?
Nancy Liebman, Miami Beach