The residents of Key Biscayne say the Beach Park is the village's crown jewel -- a place where people can go to relax and mingle, sit and read the newspaper over coffee, take a walk on the beach, or play catch with the children and grandchildren.
So, when village leaders were seeking input to upgrade the park, residents knew exactly what they wanted the park to look like.
A group of Key Biscayners and village officials gathered at the residents-only park, 650 Ocean Drive, last week to get a glimpse of the plans for refurbishing the park.
Input from citizens, gathered from both a citizen survey and an October community meeting, was incorporated into the new designs for the Park.
Residents offered additional input in December, giving village officials direction to put the finishing touches on improvements.
The Village’s goal is to keep as much landscape as possible, said Jake Ozyman, Key Biscayne's public works director. He said the village has earmarked $600,000 for the Beach Park this fiscal year
“With the feedback we got, we will do the best we can with the money we have," Ozyman said. "We can talk to council members to see how much we can get for next year."
Residents said they want the village to tear down the covered area near the Gazebo and leave it open for a clear view in all directions. Ozyman said residents see undesired activities in the covered area.
Some residents want more vegetation, to add more seating and tables under shelters, and create more space for sports. They also wanted to add grilling areas.
The outdoor facility has become a popular hangout for underaged drinkers and smokers -- a major concern of residents.
After the meeting, Ozyman said the final Beach Park plan will be presented before the Village Council in February, 2022. Once approved, the village can start putting the job out to bid.
The Beach Park was built in 2006 and is surrounded by two luxury condominiums, Sands of Key Biscayne and Ocean Club, and Key Biscayne Beach Club.
It sits right on the Atlantic and features a palm entrance plaza, native landscaping, a walk-through splash fountain, a large shade pavilion, restrooms with shower facilities and a dune walk through to the beach.
Ozyman said the Beach Park has long needed refurbishing, but the village lacked the funding to do a full upgrade. Minimum improvements have been made over the years.
Key Biscayne resident Manny Rionda, who walks in the Beach Park daily and even volunteers to clean up the facility, said he would like to see the shelters fixed and moreo seating added.
"People love the park and love their landscaping and layout," he said. "It's a crown jewel."
Ed Sanchez, a Key Biscayne resident since 1960, said the Village’s process for gathering input on improvement ideas has been positive.
“We were given five options and I think they are very good,” he said. “The landscaping, the sitting area and Gazebo are all positive feedback.”
Source : https://www.islandernews.com/news/keybiscayne/with-600-000-earmarked-for-project-village-ready-to-implement-residents-creative-ideas-for-beach/article_4b4dbace-58e2-11ec-810e-af7c703e644a.html534