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Lower Keys park looking more green

A Monroe County Public Works staffer works on the new grass at Bernstein Park on Stock Island.
A Monroe County Public Works staffer works on the new grass at Bernstein Park on Stock Island. Monroe County

Monroe County’s Bernstein Park on Stock Island is looking greener each day now that nearly three acres of sod has been was installed.

The new grass is part of the county’s $7.7 million renovation to turn the park that was prone to flooding into a functional green space. Keeping the grass green will be done by using reclaimed water from Key West Resort Utilities.

The revamped park is scheduled to open at the end of October or early November. Work continues on the parking lot and the interior of a new 6,600-foot community center, which includes a large room and a smaller room for public use

The park’s overhaul includes multipurpose fields for baseball, softball, soccer and rugby; a playground; basketball court; walking/jogging trail; and new field lighting. Future plans include installation of outdoor exercise equipment.

The park is about 11 acres, of which 5.5 acres are wetlands and environmentally protected. A majority of the usable six acres of the park was raised two feet to address flooding caused by rains and high tides. It required about 20,000 cubic yards of additional fill.

At this Wednesday’s County Commission meeting at the Harvey Government Center on Truman Avenue in Key West, the commission holds a public hearing tentatively set for 3:30 p.m. on the park’s hours. Proposed is opening at 7 a.m. and closing it at 10 p.m. For the children’s play area, the proposal is no one over age 14 other than a parent or guardian be allowed in that section of the park unless accompanied by someone 14 or younger.

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