In the Miami Herald today was an article discussing the Village of Key Biscayne’s latest effort to keep their ocean front park for local use only. Having been a resident for seven years of Key Biscayne I can understand their concern and at the same time commiserate with how it looks to the outside world. Key Biscayne Beach Access to the park was always intended to be used by local residents and their guests. Of course, you can’t keep a good thing secret for very long and before you know it everyone wants it to be their private access point making it less the “island paradise” and more the island traffic jam.
With that said I read some of the posts at the end of the Herald article and can’t help but disagree with the idea or notion that this park become the center of some “surf riders” agenda or any other such thing. I am a huge believer in access for everyone. It is also clear to anyone who lives in Miami in general that parkland within the core urban areas is something of a misnomer (lacking). But both of these things taken into consideration does not take away the fact that this stretch of the beach (At the mouth of the park in question) is the narrowest, most congested and least scenic of the entire area (sorry, no disrepect to anyone who lives right there!). Now, to be fair this is partly due to the fact that all the non waterfront homes and condos on the island use this area as their access point when driving to the beach and in most cases when walking as well as it is a community focal point.
Beach goers who commute to Key Bisacyne have access to some of the countries most scenic, tranquil and wide white sand beaches in the country. All they have to do is go a mile south to the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park or just North of the Village of Key Biscayne to Crandon Park.
Now people who complain about having to pay for access to these areas don’t realize that the Village of Key Biscayne incorporated specifically to give it’s residents a better quality of life, provided through locally collected monies to provide for (among other things) a proper park for its residents at the ocean. This includes parking for it’s residents with sidewalks, curbs, swails and all the things one would expect from a well planned and funded investment into the community.
The Village essentially becomes the unwilling subsidizer of the use of this area to outsiders without benefit to themselves nor compensation for the cost of maintenance, upkeep, etc… I know this might fly in the face of having a public beach within the strictest definition but that is what the major parks are there for? They have all the neccessary space, utilities and general services expected to handle any number of individuals for the specific purpose of enjoying the beach. The cost associated with this is nominal considering the fact that it is subsidized by the State (in the case of the State Park) the county (Crandon Park) and by the local Villagers through their taxes that they like everyone else in Dade County dutifully pays.
I hate to argue against openess but this is one of those cases where until you have experienced the issue you can’t truly appreciate its import