Miami Dade County Community Forum

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Virginia Key Planning Meeting By Ana Bikic

Here is what a participant wrote about the Planning Meeting for Virginia Key sponsored by the Urban Environment League:

I have been attending a series of community events over the last two years and noticed that the Herald had not sent anyone to cover the meeting of the Virginia Key Community at the Rusty Pelican on Saturday 26 th, as published in Friday's editorial page. I would like to present the following account:

I arrived late to the Urban Environment League's hosting of the Virginia Key's Community meeting,
kindly facilitated by the Rusty Pelican on Saturday morning. The room contained all the interested
parties of the island as well as members of the surrounding communities of the Roads, Brickell, Little Havana and Coconut Grove. The first round of table debates had finished when I entered the room and Frances Bohnsack brought up each table spokesperson to summarize their ideas. The second round of table discussions allowed everyone to input ideas around the room. The spokespersons again presented any new ideas and a quick strategy for the collective presentation to the City was devised, which although obvious I am not going to go into detail with.

However... I feel that it is important to express that all the parties involved were absolutely agreed on the fact that the City's plans are way off base and that the people, businesses and facilities that are Virginia Key do have a very real and comprehensive vision. They are determined to create an example of Cultural, Historic and Environmental principles for development of the island. They are working and assisting one another to achieve this. The concepts of inclusion will lead to a multi facility area that will accommodate everyone who loves to come to the Bay to relax, have fun and play.
The architects of the Marine Stadium, scientists of the UM , Mast Academy and the various regional conservation groups are backed by a group of new and upcoming Community leaders like Gene Tinnie from the Virginia Key Beach Park,Corina Moebelus of Imagine Miami, Beba Sardina Mann, running for dist.3 and the ever present Ms.Becky Roper Maitov from the Dade Heritage Trust. In addition to the capable and hardworking Bay businesses that have survived for decades on the Key .

I think the City Officials should be respectful and appreciative of the professional and innovative plan that the UEL meeting achieved. The final presentation on the 5th and 8th October will be detailed, accurate and very comprehensive.

The overall consensus was that Virginia Key should become an iconic example of these civic attributes, worthy of local and international recognition and financially sustainable by nature of the Key's uniqueness and the creative talents of it's supporters.

Finally I would like to add that it was agreed that the untapped energy of volunteers for these projects will play a vital role in achieving a sustainable project development and upkeep. As we talked Gene Tinnie told us that the Park had over a hundred young volunteers planting and cleaning at that very moment. I really hope the Herald gives these kids credit for their hard work in the sun on a Saturday morning.

I hope that my recording and photographing of the growing civic movement in Miami over the last two years will help demonstrate the civic responsibility pursued by so many unassuming Miami neighbors and friends.

(This letter has been edited for length)

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