Park to get $344,000 for natural area improvements

The Miami-Dade County Commission approved an additional allocation of $344,000 on Mar. 2 for Lakes by the Bay Park for development of interpretive nature trails.

The funding for Lakes by the Bay Park was part of a larger package of countywide projects funded by the last allocation from the popular and successful Safe Neighborhood Parks bond referendum originally sponsored by Commissioner Katy Sorenson and passed by the voters in 1996. The bonds have funded $212 million in improvements for parks throughout Miami-Dade.

“I am grateful to the Safe Neighborhood Parks oversight board for seeing the value of investing in the educational trails in the nature preserve portion of Lakes by the Bay Park,” Commissioner Sorenson said. “Parks are for everyone and always a worthwhile investment of our community.”

Earlier this year, county commissioners passed legislation sponsored by Commissioner Sorenson that transferred 49.3 acres of the Lakes by the Bay Park property to the Town of Cutler Bay and associated funding for a long-awaited local recreational park for residents. The county will retain the remaining 55.24 acres of natural preserve area.

The additional $344,000 will go toward nature trail development in the preserve. Commissioner Sorenson has worked for the past 15 years to secure funding for the park and to resolve environmental issues that have stymied its progress.

“This will be a great park for everyone,” Commissioner Sorenson said. “I will continue to work closely with Cutler Bay officials to ensure that Lakes by the Bay offers various activities while preserving the natural surroundings.”

The county received 73.11 acres of land from the developer of Lakes by the Bay for a community park in 1991. Approximately 20 additional acres were purchased by the county in 1998 to expand the park and buffer environmentally endangered lands.

This acreage included lake bottoms, which the county intended to use for boating and fishing. By 1999, additional land transferred from the Solid Waste Department formed the 95.2-acre Lakes by the Bay Park, which the county planned to use for playing fields, aquatic activities, picnicking, natural trails, nature/recreation center, and a gateway into the adjacent Biscayne Coastal Wetland properties. When the Town of Cutler Bay was incorporated six years later, some of the land was included within the municipality.

For information, contact Commissioner Sorenson’s office at 305-378-6677.

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