Environmental Impact Outweighs Job Potential in New Park Construction
Miami-Dade County has been in a long-standing battle with environmentalists and community members in a plan to build Miami Wilds Park a full-fledged water park, theme park, theater plaza, and hotel.
"I think we'll see something that gets themed in that Disney, Universal Studio type of thing. That's the kind of ambience and themed development we'd like to see." -Jack Kardys, Miami Herald, January 21, 2013
What kind of park is it?
Miami Wilds Parks is in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox to create a unique theme park in Miami, Florida much like the popular tourist destinations in Orlando, Florida.
The Miami Wilds Park was compiled for the main purpose of the county to increase the economy under the Building Better Communities Bond Program initiated in 2004. As the process of approval went underway, issues started to come into the spotlight.
What are the concerns?
The park was to be built on Zoo Miami parking lot property adjacent to the Richmond Pine Rocklands, a forest that is home to a vast amount of endangered species.
As environmentalists got ahold of the location of the park, the plan was then put on hold. Worries arose of the Miami tiger beetle and the Florida Bonneted Bat both being endangered species in close proximity to the rare forest.
Concerns of the park also included an increase in traffic, one of the many problems the county already deals with prior to any new construction. These issues might have put the plan on hold but did not stop Miami-Dade Commissioner, Dennis Moss from continuing.
What is the latest on the park?
As years passed, Moss did not forget about the large amusement park, announcing his altered plans that put into account some of the environmental worries. Now the plans "include the water park and a 100-room family-friendly hotel, as well as some retail stores."
As Moss pushes to restart the construction of the park he is still receiving major push back in recent weeks as he tried to override the need for a city opinion. Although he claims that the water park has no effect on the environment as it is going to be occupying an already paved parking lot.
With the COVID pandemics' recent effect on Miami, Moss's idea was to slip around the approval of the project past the public. Meaning that the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Committee would have no say. He believed this could work due to the decision in 2006 that approved the idea of a park in that location.
The idea to skip the forum failed. In regards to any city construction, the community holds hearings that are open to the public to discuss the concerns of the building before the is project is voted on.
Now any possibility of movement for the Miami Wilds Park will be on the back burner until at least early September. This stall in the decision is not changing the commissioner's opinion. As the time approaches, he will continue to ask for the same override in discussion and movement to vote.
The main argument will continue to stand throughout the months ahead. Do the risks outweigh the rewards?
The decision will not be decided until further notice. Till then, Moss will continue to fight for the Miami Wild Parks approval with the intention of job opportunities for locals and a lack of concern for the environment.
To take a look at the entire proposal for Miami Wilds, click here.