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THE STRUGGLE OVER THE FUTURE OF LEGION PARK CONTINUES
The proteacted fight over the redesign of Legion Park continues like a Miami version of the 100 Year's War.
Below is a copy of a letter sent yesterday to Hector Badia, the Assistant Director of the city's Capital Improvements Department from community activist Eileen M. Bottari, which alleges bad faith behavior on the part of the city.
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NUMBER 146 - JUNE 10, 2020
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
LEGION PARK BOAT RAMP & SURROUNDING PARK DESIGN
LEGION PARK - PUBLIC MEETING MAY 29, 2018
COMMUNITY REQUESTS FOR SPECIFIC CHANGES TO THE LEGION PARK BOAT RAMP, SURROUNDING PARK DESIGN & THE LEGION PARK COMMUNITY BUILDING
LEGION PARK - PUBLIC MEETING MARCH 20, 2019
Hector Badia, Assistant Director, Capital Improvements,
In February, 2018, you appeared before the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board to give a presentation for the proposed Plans for the
Legion Park Community Building and Legion Park Boat Ramp.
I communicated to you my deep concerns on numerous issues for
the Community Building & Boat Ramp and requested a Public Meeting on site at the Boat Ramp, and then inside for the Community Building.
The Legion Park Public Meeting took place on May 29, 2018 at 6 PM
and was well attended by the Community. We met at the Legion Park Boat Ramp and reviewed all the issues and changes that the Community was requesting.
NONE OF THE CHANGES WE REQUESTED ARE IN THE BOAT RAMP PLANS! THE PLAN IS THE SAME ONE WE REVIEWED ON MAY 29. 20018.
These are the Changes requested by the Community for the Legion Park Boat Ramp,at the Public Meeting on May 29, 2018.
1. EIGHT FOOT FENCE. - It was discusses in detail that we did not want an eight foot fence because it made LEGION PARK look like a PRISON. Five Feet is high enough.
We also stated we did not want the fence on the north side dividing the Boat Ramp from the Park. The fence should only be on the perimeter of Legion Park.
2. CANOE & KAYAK LAUNCH RAMP - An area a few feet north of the Dock was identified as the perfect spot for the Canoe & Kayak Launch. It is a separate Boat Ramp for Canoes & Kayaks while the Boat Ramp south of the Dock is for larger motorized boats.
It was discussed in detail that this Canoe & Kayak launch was very important to the Upper Eastside Community.
I believe that Legion Park has received Grant Money from F.I.N.D., the Florida Inland Navigation District.
The Grant Money is for the improvements to the Boat Ramp, and to create more Public Access to Biscayne Bay.
3. PICNIC AREA - A Picnic Area with Tables, Benches, & BBQ Grills west of the Canoe & Kayak launch and north of the Boat Ramp Parking Lot was requested so people using both Boat Ramps could also have a picnic in the Park
After waiting more than 6 months for Capital Improvements and the Parks Department to schedule a follow up Public Meeting for the Boat Ramp and Community Building I requested a Public Meeting which was scheduled on March 20, 2019.
The only changes that were reviewed at this Public Meeting were for the Legion Park Community Building.
We were told that another Public Meeting would be scheduled to review the changes we requested for the Legion Park Boat Ramp.
NO FOLLOW UP PUBLIC MEETING TO REVIEW THE CHANGES WE REQUESTED FOR THE BOAT RAMP WAS EVER SCHEDULED
BY CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS & THE PARKS DEPARTMENT.
NONE OF THE CHANGES WE REQUESTED ARE IN THE CURRENT BOAT RAMP PLANS!
Mr Badia, Assistant Director Capital Improvements, & Ms Hamwey, Director of Parks & Recreation, I must say that I am bitterly disappointed by the lack of a timely and professional follow thru with scheduling a follow up Public Meeting and implementing the changes requested by the Community for the Legion Park Boat Ramp.
There was plenty of time in 2019 to meet with the Community with an updated plan for the Community to review and approve.
PLEASE UPDATE THE LEGION PARK BOAT RAMP PLANS WITH THE CHANGES REQUESTED BY THE COMMUNITY!
Eileen M Bottari
Friends of Legion Park
Dear Mr. Badia and All,
I attended several meetings regarding Legion Park and its boat ramp.
Ms. Bottari is correct in her assessment of the public input that was given. We were also told there would be a follow up public meeting, which has yet to happen.
One key point is the kayak launch. My recollection is that the City was told that placing a kayak ramp to the south of the motorized boat ramp would be much better, because it would face into the prevailing wind, which is always better for small craft like kayaks, wind surfers, small sailboats, etc.
This project is funded by FIND, which requires public access to and from the water. A kayak launch ramp, as I described above, would serve that purpose.
Another point is a fence between the boat ramp area and the park. There should be no fence there; the public should be able to easily walk from the boat ramp to the park greenspace, they way it is currently done at Morningside Park.
I looked at the pdf of the plans, and noticed that the elevation drawings do not include units on the measurements: Are they NGVD, Miami Datum, or NAVD? They should all be in NAVD, but they are not specified.
Also, there is no elevation listed for the top of the seawall / concrete bulkhead. What is its elevation?
I downloaded the pdf from the website, but I found it to be low resolution. In trying to read the fine print, it pixelates. A high resolution version should be made available.
In closing, I hope the public amenities requested by the public will be made part of the plan.
Not Enough Information
Given the difficulties imposed by COVID-19 and the lack of opportunity for community attendance at an in-person presentation with slides and more visual aids, the design package submitted by the City for community comment feels woefully incomplete. I would like to ask for more visual aids, specifically, an artist's rendering and visual information on materials to be used and how the seawall will impact the view and enjoyment of the Bay. What we were sent feels like an afterthought -- a shabby set of nothin' much to satisfy the City's requirement for community input. Not a proper design package that respects the community involved.
The addition of the seawall introduces the most significant element of change in how the boat ramp area will look and how the area may be used for recreational purposes. Yet the plans submitted for public comment fail to include any kind of artist's rendering to enable reviewers to visualize the impact of the wall or its size on a human scale.
In fact, I couldn't find any printed information on the seawall at all: nothing to indicate how high it will be on the dry side, what materials will be used, or what people will see when they stand in the current parking lot area and look out towards the Bay.
Kayak and Canoe Ramp
I also don't see a Kayak or canoe launch. Given the current and growing popularity of these two activities (and the fact that the City has been asked to include them in the revamp by community members at previous meetings) it would be a major oversight -- and would short-change the community -- not to include them in the revamp of the area.
The redesign of the boat ramp represents a major recreational enhancement opportunity for Miami's Upper Eastside community. Please let's not squander this opportunity to create a great new area for the community to enjoy.
830 NE 74 Street