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Key Biscayne looks at two potential spots on Virginia Key for additional playing fields

Possible sites to put playing fields on Virginia Key.
Village of Key Biscayne
/
Key Biscayne Independent
An image provided to the Key Biscayne Village Council on possible sites to put playing fields on Virginia Key. The green and the yellow represent spots the Village is exploring for possible fields in the immediate future. The orange represents the old Miami-Dade County dump that remains extremely toxic and is years away from being a viable park.

With the dearth of playing fields on Key Biscayne in mind, the Village held meetings with the city of Miami and the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park to develop two pieces of land for youth athletics.

“Both locations look promising but do face certain challenges,” Village Manager Steve Williamson informed Mayor Joe Rasco and council members in an Oct. 23 email.

Williamson told the Independent that discussions centered on Key Biscayne helping turn the plots into playing fields.

One plot of land is just east of the water sewer plant and just north of the outdoor recreation center, he said. It currently is used by the city of Miami as a disaster debris management site.

“We could put one or two fields there,” Williamson said.

He cautioned Key Biscayne’s elected leaders in his email that the site “will require a deliberate approach to its design and use.”

Williamson said the Village also spoke to the new director for Historic Virginia Key Beach to possibly put fields there, as well.

The caveat with that site, Williamson told the Council, is that the beach district will have to change how it does events. The new beach director, Athalie Edwards, wants the park to be less event-centric, he said in the email.

It’s all very preliminary, he said.

“We got to see if it’s feasible first,” Williason said. “We’re kind of doing our due diligence. Are they in? Are they not in? What would be the agreement?”

He said the Village is first reviewing records and looking at surveys to see if the sites are viable for playing fields. Then, it would move on to planning and design. “It’s not an overnight solution,” he said.

The Key Biscayne Soccer Club is currently capped with 1,000 participants and there are numerous children on a waiting list. There are other sports, as well, that want to use Village Green and other fields, such as the one Key Biscayne leases at St. Agnes Catholic Church.

“Our kids love athletics, and the parents love it when their kids are in athletics. We’re trying to do the best we can to get more space,” he said.

Hope springs eternal for the third piece of land on Virginia Key – Miami-Dade County’s old toxic landfill. Back in 2017, Miami-Dade County said it would reclaim the 125-acre wasteland on Duck Lake and pump in $45 million to make it ready to cede the land to the city of Miami for a large park.

As with adjacent projects – Rickenbacker Marina and Miami Marine Stadium – nothing happened. The contaminated old dump still needs to be capped by lime-rock before it can become a park, Williamson said.

The county must still come up with a design and then put it out to bid – and that is even before it’s capped, which Williamson estimated is over two years away.

“Everybody thought that was going to happen a long time ago,” Williamson said. “I used to work in the City of Miami and we thought that was going to be done by now.”

This story was originally published in the Key Biscayne Independent, a WLRN News partner.

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