My husband and I have lived near Harry Harris Park for more than seven years and are becoming increasingly concerned with rumors surrounding the future of the Tavernier park, such as it will be closed for two years, the boat ramp will not be rebuilt and the purpose of the park in the interim is to house derelict boats and canal trash from Hurricane Irma.
Surely taxpaying residents will be given a voice in this matter, but so far that has not happened. I have been surprised that there has been no request for feedback on these major decisions. The use of the park as a trash receptacle will impact hundreds of residents monetarily. Real estate values will fall, the sale price of homes will drop and fewer tourists will visit, which affects the income of many local hospitality workers, bait and tackle shops, boat mechanics and boat rentals, etc.
Then there are the other benefits of a park, less easily quantified but just as real, such as the loss of kids’ and adults’ team sports, loss of family times enjoying nature and our beautiful water, learning about and experiencing the great outdoors rather than watching TV for hours after school and work, having a place for stress relief after a hard day at work, etc.
There are many volunteers who are willing to assist in repairing the park and would be happy to sign a waiver of liability. And thinking about liability, the next hurricane season starts in six months. Do you want the liability of unsecured derelict boats and canal trash in a residential area with a hurricane bearing down on the Keys? We cannot assume this season will not be repeated. We must plan for the worst and be prepared. We are running out of time in that regard.
It appears that decisions pertaining to the use of space for derelict boats and canal trash are being made based on a Google map. Harry Harris Park is much more than an empty space on a Google map.
To the Monroe County commissioners, please think about the purpose of our parks, why we all, as a community, would prioritize a park when real estate is so limited. Why do we need open spaces where families can enjoy time together, places for kids to play safely and space for quiet times of peace and thoughtfulness? Why bother having a park at all? Please answer that questions before you fill it with trash for two years.
Carol Hogan, Tavernier