Town hopes to buy Old Cutler property for park use and more

Aerial view of the land on Old Cutler Road

Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell during the May 16 council meeting announced that the town has executed a Letter of Intent with the property owner for a portion of a large parcel of land known as the “Potato Field,” located along Old Cutler Road at SW 212th Street.

Mayor Bell said approximately 18 acres of the “Potato Field” could be transformed into public space if the General Obligation Bond (GOB) is approved by the voters.

The property is immediately north of the site of the planned new Publix Supermarket.

A special all mail ballot election was launched to decide if the town should be authorized to issue the bonds in the amount of $40 million, secured by ad valorem taxes to be levied on each property owner within the town. If approved, the $40 million of bonds will be used to acquire parcels of vacant land which may be used for the development of new parks and open space, and/or public facilities, and/or opportunities for economic development.

Mayor Bell said she thinks it is an important move for the town.

“Should the voters vote yes on the bond we would be able to purchase the land — our primary goal is preserving open land,” Mayor Bell said. “This would be an awesome opportunity to preserve the land for the town, mainly park space

“ If we are lucky enough to purchase this land the next step would be a charrette or a comprehensive plan for the property and put that out to the residents, about what they would like to see on the property. It would be up to the residents to come to the meetings and tell us what they want. It could be a location for art shows, music events, a farmers market.”

She said they might also be able to bring in some upscale restaurants on the perimeter of the property, if that is what the residents want.

“There could be a nice sit down restaurant with outdoor dining.”

Mayor Bell said that if the town doesn’t purchase the property it won’t have control over what the land is used for, with the possibility of up to 500 new homes being built there with perhaps one or two thousand more cars on Old Cutler Road, increasing traffic problems.

Since May 16 town manager Rafael Casals, Mayor Bell and the GOB Outreach Team have been presenting information about the GOBond to East Ridge residents, to more than 2,200 shoppers at the Publix on Old Cutler Road and have walked the streets of Cutler Bay to increase awareness of the election on June 5.

Resolution #18-16, adopted by the Town Council,  provides for the ballot question to read: “Shall the Town of Cutler Bay issue general obligation bonds not exceeding $40,000,000, in one or more series, as tax exempt and/or taxable bonds, maturing not later than thirty years from their issuance dates, bearing interest not exceeding the maximum allowable by law, payable from ad valorem taxes levied by the town, to acquire and improve property for parks, open space, public facilities, and economic development?”

Residents can learn more about the GOB, including calculating their estimated ad valorem tax, at www.CutlerBayGoBond.org, or by contacting the Office of the Town Manager at 305-234-4262 or via email at GOBond@cutlerbay-fl.gov.


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