PARKS & RECREATION/Walkway, parks connect village to beachfront
Local officials in Key Biscayne, Fla., have developed the village’s last remaining waterfront lot into a series of parks and open spaces connected by a walkway. The Beachfront Promenade makes the waterfront more accessible to the village’s 10,000 residents.
Before the Promenade project was completed in May, public access to the beach was blocked by high-rise condominiums and luxury hotels. That began to change in 1995, when locally based Ocean Club Development (which was building condominiums on the waterfront) donated 5.5-acres of land to the village, as well as $250,000 for construction of the parks and walkway. The city paid for the remainder of the $1.9 million project out of its Capital Improvement Fund.
The promenade begins half a mile from the ocean at a one-acre park that features a lake and a small shade pavilion. From the lake, the pathway continues as a 10-foot-wide, bricked walkway past a grid of palms known as “palm plaza.” The palms identify the entrance to a second park closer to the beach.
Within the second park, a 12-foot-wide wooden boardwalk leads to two elevated terraces at the end of the promenade before meeting the beach area. One terrace features a 1,600-square-foot pavilion that provides shaded seating with views of the beachfront. The other terrace contains restroom facilities, and it leads to an open shower area for park patrons.
According to Armando Nuñez, public works director for Key Biscayne, the Beachfront Promenade has opened the beach to hundreds of residents who were unable to enjoy it before. “We have been tracking attendance, and we have [averaged] about 200 to 300 people per day on the weekends and about 50 to 60 people per day on the weekdays,” he notes.