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Front Page » Communities » City looks to design firm to craft true Virginia Key flex park

City looks to design firm to craft true Virginia Key flex park

Written by on June 26, 2018
City looks to design firm to craft true Virginia Key flex park

The City of Miami’s so-called flex park on Virginia Key is in line for a major redesign, with the ultimate goal of building a world-class waterfront destination with regional importance for a flexible public open space.

A proposed contract with a design firm is on today’s (6/28) city commission agenda.

Commissioners are to consider a resolution accepting a proposal from Civitas Inc. to provide professional urban design, landscape architecture and engineering services, on a phased basis, for the flex park space at Virginia Key.

Civitas is a landscape architecture and urban design firm located in Denver.

The resolution also approves a professional services agreement with the firm.

If approved, the move would bring the city a step closer to a solid plan for regular use of the long-neglected and underutilized parking lot south of the idled Miami Marine Stadium.

The flex park is one of several projects being considered or already under way on the barrier island, including what some would consider the main event: the restoration and reopening of the waterfront stadium.

The City of Miami owns much of the island, including the iconic stadium, and has already spent millions to outfit the flex park site to host the Miami International Boat Show.

City commissioners approved spending more than $20 million to create the flex park space – from a new hard surface to electric connections and acres of elaborate tents – with its first use being the 2016 boat show. The show organization has a year-to-year license with the city to use the site.

Under separate contracts, the city is in the midst of a multi-million-dollar restoration of the famous stadium, closed since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

A background memo on the flex park redesign says the Department of Procurement on April 28, 2017, requested qualifications of experienced and qualified proposers to providing professional urban design, landscape architecture and engineering services for a flex park.

Proposers were required to meet the minimum qualification requirements in the request in order to be deemed responsible to provide the services.

Of the seven proposals received, one proposal was deemed nonresponsive and was disqualified.

An evaluation committee appointed by the city manager met April 25 and evaluated the six remaining proposals following the guidelines in the solicitation.

“Pursuant to the RFQ requirements, the Committee recommended that Procurement negotiate and execute a Professional Services Agreement with Civitas, Inc., the highest ranked Proposer. Successful negotiations were accomplished, and an agreement was mutually reached on May 3, 2018. Procurement hereby recommends award of the contract to Civitas, Inc., on a phased basis, in an amount not to exceed $844,730 for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Project,” the memo states.

In late 2016 when the planning staff and procurement department were preparing the request for qualifications, the goal was to secure a qualified world‐class waterfront urban design/landscape architecture firm to:

■Establish flexible public open space to accommodate special events.

■Facilitate active and passive family recreational opportunities.

■Provide access to Miami’s waterfront.

■Accommodate historic elements of the Marine Stadium gateway entrance.

The Virginia Key Advisory Board was consulted as city staff prepared to request qualifications.

The overall goal was to enact the Virginia Key Master Plan, adopted July 22, 2010, the request said.

“Through a creative and imaginative design of the flexible public open space, the proposer shall consider passive recreation, family and public gatherings, green and introspective space for emotional and physical well-being, as well as providing full access to Miami’s pristine waterfront, while supporting opportunities for special event use,” the city’s request said.

2 Responses to City looks to design firm to craft true Virginia Key flex park

  1. DC Copeland

    June 27, 2018 at 9:03 am

    This so sad. Talk about a lack of vision. With water surrounding us, the city thinks adding swimming pools is the way to go. A better– and far less costly plan– would be to turn that parking lot into a REAL park with shade trees on the perimeter and an open field between them. When not used for parking for the Marine Stadium, the land would be open and free to the public to use it anyway they like, from playing baseball, soccer and football to throwing Frizbees or simply having a picnic under a tree. Remember, less is more.

  2. paul

    July 1, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    I am always stunned that our city rather choose to cover our remaining green space in Miami and Miami-Dade County with hardscape structures. This propensity to cover the most important resource, the last remaining open, green areas, started with the construction of Bayside in the 80’s, continued with blocking the bayfront with the American Airlines Arena, then Dinner Key’s bayfront with a large multistory building, then the soon to be covered Bayfront of Watson Island with high-rises solely for the benefit of the super wealthy and their mega yachts, by private developers, and now Virginia Key.
    Rather than have a paradise of open bayviews and quiet, shaded greenspaces for the increasingly large population of Miami to enjoy, our elected officials keep making the same mistakes; covering a tropical paradise and putting up more buildings on our last remaining green spaces. We need to preserve our green spaces as the precious, shrinking resources that they are. Our elected officials need to hear from their voters.