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FLORIDABIRDS-L  February 2001

FLORIDABIRDS-L February 2001

Subject:

Bill Baggs/Cape Florida still in trouble (part 1)

From:

"Wright, David" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Wright, David

Date:

Tue, 13 Feb 2001 15:40:51 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (114 lines)

The threat to Bill Baggs State Recreation Area (State Park to be) continues,
as the forwarded message below indicates. If you care about protecting one
of Florida's prime birding spots, you might want to take a few minutes to
write a letter opposing the Village of Key Biscayne's attempt to grab land
that belongs to all citizens of Florida.

A public meeting will be held at 7:00 PM, Monday, 19 February 2001 at the
         Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences
         Library
         4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
         Miami, FL 33139

The Aquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) is going to meet 15 March 2001
to decide whether or not to accept the management plan proposed by Cape
Florida staff. Letters to ARC members may help to ensure a favorable
outcome of their vote.

*Addresses to write to are in a separate message immediately following this
one*

In recent years Bill Baggs/Cape Florida has hosted birds such as Bahama
Mockingbird and Key West Quail Dove. Sources indicate that Bahama Woodstar
is considering an appearance -- if the ballfield scheme is quashed.

David Wright
Miami Shores
[log in to unmask]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Cape Florida State Park held hostage to Playing Fields Controversy
By Blanca Mesa

    In 1964, a fierce battle waged between Miami and Tallahassee to create
South Florida's first state park on Key Biscayne. Much like today's
environmental battles, it was both a race against time --- would state
funds
be released in time to stave off developers? -- and against complacency ---
would we sit by idly while the last remaining wild beachfront was paved
over?
 Thankfully, the perserverance of a few committed souls paid off. And today,

we can thank those visionaries for the beauty and tranquility that is Cape
Florida State Park.

For 37 years, the state park has served as a refuge for both people and
nature. It is ancient land, rising from the sea out of the same coral reef
rock that created the Florida Keys. Tequesta Indians, pirates and Spanish
explorers have staked a claim here, as have settlers and developers. Today,

all the people of the State of Florida own the park land. We share it with
160 species of migrating birds, and 52 endangered or threatened plant and
animal species, including one crocodile who has found a familiar fit in the
recreated tidal swamp at the park's northern end.

Next month, a state board, the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC), is

set to approve a management plan that carries the park into the next
century
as a model of ecological restoration: 300, 000 native trees and shrubs
planted; $7 million in state and federal funds expended; and tens of
thousands of volunteer hours donated to recreate and restore the “real
Florida� on the tip of Key Biscayne. "Nowhere else in the state is the
Florida Park Service attempting to accomplish a task of such scope and
complexity,"? states the Resource Plan presented to the ARC. It is quite a
feat that should make us all proud and, also feeling quite lucky to have
such
an extraordinary wildnerness as our neighbor.


The Village of Key Biscayne, however, apparently doesn't see that way. Last
week, its lawyers and lobbyists, flanked by a number of Athletic Club
members, objected vehemently to the state park's resource plan and the
designation of Cape Florida as a State Park at a public hearing in
Tallahassee. The Village attorney told the ARC board they prefer Cape
Florida
remain a recreation area only, the better to plop a 30-acre Village Sports
Complex in its midst.

Not only do these maneuverings fly in the face of history and a sense of
fair
play, in the end, it is self-defeating to our community's goal of securing
additional playing fields for our children. The Village's resources should
be
better spent seeking realistic alternatives, not orchestrating predatory
land
grabs of park land that belong to all the people of the state of Florida.

First of all, we need to have a frank discussion of just what is needed and

what we are willing to work with. It's obvious playing fields can be carved
within the Village and on lands owned by the Village. So far, the Village
has
chosen not to do --- opting for beach park fountains, administration
buildings, parking garages and village theaters. It's also possible to
seek
some accommodations for playing fields within Crandon and Calusa Parks.

However, if it is a 30-acre lighted sports complex with clubhouse amenities
we are seeking, then the Village needs to cross Bear Cut. Basically, we
need
to start thinking more broadly and more inclusively about working with the
City of Miami and county officials about developing a sports complex in
Virginia Key that can ultimately serve the mainland, MAST Academy students
and Key Biscayne residents.

It's time the Village brought all the parties together: county and city
officials, environmental experts, and moms and dads who care about their
children's sports development needs, to have a productive planning session
to
deal with the playing fields issue. Confiscating state park lands,
threatening lawsuits and underhanded tactics that confuse the issues and
waste resources and time, don't show good sportmanship and, in the end, hurt

our kids more than the lack of playing fields ever could.

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