Miami Dade County Community Forum

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Invitation to Revive Public Input to Redesign the Master Plan for Virginia Key. By Gregory Bush

Public input meeting to redesign the master plan for Virginia Key will be held: Saturday September 26, 2009 at the Rusty Pelican, 9am- 1pm
Virginia Key is a 1,000 acre island off the coast of Miami that has long been a hodge podge of land uses.  It is an island without a plan. No one lives there. Our Virginia Key Planning Coalition needs help in helping the city design a viable plan to make this island into a place we can all look to with pride in the coming years. It could be a thoughtful, well conceived and environmentally sensitive island that serves the needs of all residents and is a viable attraction for tourists as well.

For the past few years, the city has tried to design a Master Plan for the entire island.  It hired the planning firm of EDSA to oversee the process but their plan, presented this past May, ran into unanimous opposition from the City’s Planning Advisory Board and the Waterfront Boards.  It desperately needs the publics help.
Major concerns have been expressed about the need to retain the Miami Marine Stadium, an historically significant structure, and make it a viable venue again.  Others strongly dislike plans for a huge sports complex in the old land-fill area in the center of the island.  The plan has not addressed mass transit concerns, nor has the historically black beach been adequately integrated into the overall plans. Most observers are not opposed to all commercial development nor all aspects of the EDSA Plan but believe that allowing high rise hotels and a theme park atmosphere would seriously damage the fragile –though disturbed- eco system that exists on the island.  This is a unique tropical island that should not be overbuilt like Watson Island.
Recently, the Urban Environment League, the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, Miami Neighborhoods United, the Sierra Club, Tropical Audubon and numerous other organizations, have agreed to work with the city in trying to forge a new consensus behind a Master Plan for the island.
WE have been able to secure a large room with a great view at the Rusty Pelican for September 26, 2009 as a venue for a public design workshop to come up with a set of drawings to put into consideration to the City Commission in the coming months. No experience necessary. Give us your visions. We expect to have several break-out sessions where the public will be invited to address (1) the marine Stadium basin (2) the landfill area (3) natural areas such as at the Northpoint/Jimbos area and (4) island wide transportation and thematic integration between the Virginia Key Beach Trust, educational and commercial interests, (5) South Va Key spaces such as Rosenstield School, Hobie Beach and the Seaquarium. 
The public is ensourgaed to attend this design workshop. Speak out.  City and County residents are welcome because many of the parcels on the island are owned by both entities.
We are looking for architects and planners, students and everyday folks to volunteer their Saturday to help put Miami on the map as a city in which democratic planning can help create a better place. If you have professional standing as an architect or planner, and like credit for your work, please contact Jorge Hernandez at
For further information, contact the UEL at
Phone: 786-472-0011.

Help us help the city create a first class plan and show how citizen input can make a positive difference in South Florida. Please let your friends know about this event so that we have a large turnout and can send a signal that people care about this place. Please distribute this flyer to get as many people out as possible.

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