Florida Keys

Waterfront park in Key Largo reopens in time for fireworks, but it may have to close again

A girl jumps from the seawall of a swimming area at Rowell's Waterfront Park in Key Largo in 2016.
A girl jumps from the seawall of a swimming area at Rowell's Waterfront Park in Key Largo in 2016. Monroe County

Rowell's Waterfront Park, formerly Rowell's Marina, reopened to the public as a passive park in Key Largo Tuesday — a great spot to watch Fourth of July fireworks Wednesday night.

The county bought the park in 2013 for $5 million, and it has been used to host some larger events in the area since then. It has become a full-use park with picnic tables, benches, a swimming area (no lifeguards) and a launch for standup paddleboards, kayaks and canoes, said Cammy Clark, spokeswoman for Monroe County.

Boats and personal watercraft cannot launch from the park, Clark said.

The park, at mile marker 104.5, had been closed since Hurricane Irma hit the Keys in September. The eight-acre lot was used as a staging area for cleanup crews and as a place to dump stories-high mounds of debris, a role the park may need to play again in the future, Clark said.

"In the future, the park may have to close again temporarily to become a staging area for hurricane marine debris removed from canals," Clark said.

While it has been closed, a scenic overlook was built at Rowell's, paid for with a $125,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, according to the county.

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