A special meeting has been scheduled Sept. 11 by Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations to explore details about the proposed “Coral Reef Commons” development, proposed for construction adjacent to ZooMiami off Coral Reef Drive and S. W. 124 Ave.
Open to the public, the session will begin at 7 p.m. in the Kendall Village Center Civic Pavilion, 8625 S. W. 124 Ave., opposite the Regal theater complex. Representatives from the RAM development company that proposes building a major Walmart Store, shopping center and 900-apartment complex have been asked to explain their proposal, said Michael Rosenberg, KFHA President. Other county officials and representatives with project involvement have also been asked to comment, he said, noting the discussion will offer statements about both benefits and disadvantages, as well as a forum for neighbors to present their views and opinions about the project, The KFHA Board of Directors on Aug. 21 held a special session initiated by veteran TV newsman and consumer advocate Al Sunshine, describing the effect that the proposal would have if built. Long a consumer advocate for CBS/WTVJ/4, and columnist for Community Newspapers, Sunshine lives in the immediate neighborhood.
“Both his concerns, those expressed by others and stories about the project led us to arrange this open session to have all the details explained,” said Rosenberg, adding that the KFHA Board has not taken an official stand on the controversial project until learning from all parties involved.
The purchase by RAM of 40 acres from the University of Miami’s holding will allow building a strip mall on about 88 acres of rare forest, part of the last remaining tract of rockland outside of national park territory. Rockland pine preserves that harbor endangered animal and plant species that once covered all of Miami-Dade County now account for less than 2% of its undeveloped land and are largely banned from any public use.
Two major Kendall preserves include the Boystown Preserve (S. W. 120 St., west of S. W. 137 Ave.) and Nixon Smiley Preserve (S. W. 128 St., west of S. W. 127 Ave.) Both are fenced and do not allow public entry. The only Kendall rockland pine parks that do permit entry by a walkway are the Pine Shore Pine Land Preserve, located on the north side of S. W. 128 St., east of S. W. 112 Ave., and the Environmental Center maintained by Miami-Dade College on S. W. 113 Pl. on the west perimeter of the Kendall Campus. The tiny forested area is open to public viewing the third Saturday of each month.
Other than those two protected woodlands, rock pine preserves are notoriously guarded by environmental interests that became inflamed over the University of Miami transfer of 40 acres to build the Coral Commons shopping center and housing project, further diminishing an area harboring endangered plants and wildlife. For information about KFHA, contact Rosenberg (305-439-3571) or Miles Moss (305-439-3571) or visit www.kfha.org.