More than seven million people visit Key Biscayne annually, coming from across Miami-Dade and around the world for our beaches, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Crandon Park’s golf course and tennis center, and our public boat ramps.
Unfortunately, Miami-Dade’s most beloved playground could soon become its most dreaded parking lot. That’s because the city of Miami has approved an ill-conceived, taxpayer-funded plan to develop for-profit event space surrounding the historic Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key.
Miami commissioners are twisting the facts by promoting this development as the first step toward restoring the Marine Stadium.
The truth is, the project that has been approved leaves the historic structure in disrepair and there are no plans for its rehabilitation.
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The plan amounts to a money grab. While the hope is that these tents will lure high-profile events and create new revenue, the reality is that the plan will create a traffic nightmare for Miami-Dade residents who visit Key Biscayne and Virginia Key.
This is a risky bet with little to gain and much to lose.
The city’s $16 million development will be funded with taxpayer dollars and occupy public waterfront land, but yields zero community benefits.
There will be no new greenspace, no expanded access to the bay, and the stadium will remain untouched.
The most noticeable impact for Miami-Dade residents will be the onslaught of traffic caused by dozens of events held year-round. The setup and breakdown of these events will block access to recreational areas for months at a time as heavy machinery invades the island.
Imagine endless backups preventing families from making the trip to Key Biscayne during holiday weekends; emergency vehicles stuck behind a sea of brake lights; and caravans of delivery trucks loading and off-loading their equipment week after week.
Miami’s plan also conflicts with the land’s allowable use. A deed transferred from Miami-Dade County to the city of Miami in 1963 specifies that the property can only be used for purposes directly tied to the Marine Stadium — a far cry from the commission’s commercial intentions.
The Village of Key Biscayne is suing Miami with the goal of stopping the proposed project based on these factors.
Successful legal action will open the door to responsible development and put an end to Miami’s short-sighted plans long before our community’s environment, economy and quality of life are irreparably harmed.
Above all else, we hope to preserve access to Key Biscayne and Virginia Key for future generations of visitors.
Mayra Peña Lindsay, mayor, Key Biscayne