Palmetto Bay holds off on soccer fields

For the second time, Palmetto Bay council members decided not to replace a village skateboard park will soccer fields.

The Village Council on Monday unanimously agreed to add two batting cages and a picnic pavilion to Palmetto Bay Park, 17535 SW 95th Ave. But the council did not approve a proposal for two mini soccer fields proposed in lieu of the current skateboard area of the park.

“The skate park remains for a couple of reasons. One, there was kind of a mixed message by the group in the residential area. Some wanted the skate park and some did not,” said Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, adding that residents who live near Palmetto Bay Park are concerned soccer fields would bring more activity to the park. “With increased activity comes noise, and they were looking for something that is more family oriented. … They just want it a little more personalized for them.”

On June 6, officials and residents will meet at the park to discuss other options and possible amenities, Stanczyk said. The time of the meeting has not yet been set.

Residents who spoke at the meeting said they oppose the addition of the two mini soccer fields, saying they would turn Palmetto Bay Park into a sports complex. Some had suggestions of their own, including the addition of volleyball courts, a water feature, a large checkerboard or a community garden. If any of these features are added, they would not necessarily replace the skateboard park.

The skateboard park is now closed because of damage to a fence. Village staffers originally proposed the demolition and construction of the two mini soccer fields at the March meeting. They said the facility is too costly to maintain and gets minimal use. Some residents have also complained that the park has attracted juvenile delinquents, who do not wear helmets while they skate, draw graffiti and destroy public property. At the March meeting, the council put off a decision on what to do with the facility.

In other action Monday night, the council:

• Voted 4-1 to give village staff the green light to work with Pinecrest and Miami-Dade County in designing and constructing a traffic circle at the intersection of Old Cutler Road, Howard Drive (136th Street), and Southwest 67th Court. The resolution did not commit the village to a particular design or configuration for the circle. Vice Mayor John DuBois dissented.

• Voted 4-1 to hire Doral-based Burke Construction Group, to renovate and expand the main house of the Thalatta Estate, a two-story bay-front Mediterranean Revival home now used for weddings, receptions and other events. The contract is for nearly $450,000 and work is expected to be completed by September. DuBois dissented.

• Unanimously approved the appointment of Dana Pezoldt and Nicholas Stoetzer to the village’s Art in Public Places board and Anthony Sabbag to the Historic Preservation Board.