Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back to drawing board for Virginia Key plan

Catching up: Miami Mayor Manny Diaz has withdrawn his Virginia Key Master Plan from consideration. The plan ran into a huge wave of opposition from boaters and nature-lovers offended by the consultants' presentation that seemed to offer either playing fields or something built of concrete for just about every unused square foot of Virginia Key. The eight garages, with thousands of parking spaces, typified what angered Miamians who had hoped for a design closer to nature than to a festival concept. While the planners did work in bicycle paths and a multi-competency BMX course, things local bicyclists had asked for, the proposed shops, gym, conference center and lighted fields made many of us wonder what kind of auto traffic we'd have to contend with in getting to and from our rides.

The Miami Herald's Andres Viglucci got to the core of the matter:
City planners have said the city may have erred in asking [Fort Lauderdale landscape architects] EDSA to include in the blueprint the maximum number of facilities and improvements, such as athletic fields, the island could accommodate. The idea was to offer future administrations a broad menu of options as money becomes available, said city urban design chief Enrique Nuñez.

That, he said, appears to have ``scared some people to death.''

One alternative, Nuñez said, may be to break down the blueprint into a range of options that may prove more palatable to the public.

But he emphasizes that the plan would turn more than 200 acres of degraded or inaccessible areas, including an old landfill, into parks and open space in a city badly in need of both.
For a few more days, you can see Viglucci's full article at

Among the effective opponents to the EDSA proposal were members of the Urban Environment League of Greater Miami.


Anonymous said...

One would wonder why any sports facilities should be added at all. This ideas of planning are along the lines of the chices around the new baseball stadiums. This area could be redeveloped into the large open public park area that miami is missing. One made up with trees grass instead of concrete and medal. Hopefully the next idea presented is a bit more scaled back.

Anonymous said...

The City also forgot to mention that the sports complex is proposed on the site of a contaminated landfill that hasn't even been tested yet to determine the extent of the contamination nor what it would take to clean up, never mind the tens of millions in clean-up costs. Restore and let the land heal. That should be the city's priority for that site.