Rickenbacker “Cone of Silence” Cited by County Officials for Not Responding to Questions as KB Residents Asked to Share Their Opinion on Plan Z | Biscayne Key


Key residents of Biscayne will have yet another chance to voice their opinions or suggestions on what they would prefer to see from a county proposal calling for repairs, replacement and resilience along Rickenbacker Causeway.

The new meeting will be held at the community center in the coming weeks with Miami-Dade Commissioner Raquel Regalado, her staff, and staff from the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (PROS) department, who takes control of county demand. for proposal (RFP) from a group called “Plan Z Consortium”.

In the meantime, village officials are asking all residents to share their ideas regarding the causeway directly with city staff by emailing [email protected], and they will forward these messages to Regalado staff. “To help guide the Town Hall Meeting.”

Another way to have your opinion heard is by sending a letter to the editor of Islander News. Send a letter or comments by clicking here.

When the Regalado meeting is scheduled, all residents can attend, in person or remotely.

Regalado told council members and residents at last week’s special meeting to discuss strategic plans that “Key Biscayne will have a voice” in the proceedings.

A day after that Wednesday meeting, the county surprisingly extended the tender deadline for pavement improvements from Nov. 4 to Dec. 13. approve amendments to the current RFP – but only if Key Biscayne residents and Council members can convince Regalado staff to refer their demands to the Commission.

The current RFP would include amenities such as an observation deck, bicycle store, banquet hall, improvements to parks and beaches, 36-foot-wide, three-lane bike (and pedestrian) lanes of circulation at 11 feet per lane; the all-important replacement of the Bear Cut Bridge; repairs to the William M. Powell Bridge; and decades of control of approved tolls and concessions.

The Rickenbacker Causeway opened in 1947.

A pre-bid conference for potential bidders, scheduled for last Thursday on the bidsync.com website – which features the tender – has also been extended by a week.

Regalado said she would listen to officials and residents of Key Biscayne and fight for them.

“I will be lobbying the 12 other commissioners,” she said. “I know there has been some animosity between the village and the county, but maybe this is the opportunity to do things right. It is still early in the process.

Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey knows how important this decision could be, one that could potentially affect property values ​​and business operations as well. He was ready to move forward with the idea of ​​an “open public process” so that all stakeholders could have a say in one gathering.

Another option would have been for the village to request to be removed as a stakeholder so that bidders could communicate with municipal authorities about a possible partnership and avoid the “cone of silence” of the RFP. The “Cone” does not prevent the city from speaking to planners, however, as Regalado clarified this detail Wednesday evening.

City Councilor Ignacio Segurola pushed Key Biscayne to ask the county to formally rescind the PD, or formally transfer all rights to the roadway to Key Biscayne. But, for lack of a second, his motion died on the floor and city leaders accepted Regalado’s option for a face-to-face meeting with his staff.

Rickenbacker’s issue on Thursday morning drew listeners from afar as County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Board Chairman Jose “Pepe” Diaz appeared on Spanish news / talk radio Actualidad 1040 AM to answer questions about the RFP.

Co-host Juan Camilo Gomez only went as far as the third question to the mayor on the “Contacto Directo” program, when he asked: “Why has the county launched a request for proposals for the privatization of the Rickenbacker road when there are funds available? “

The mayor declined to respond due to the ‘cone of silence’ but said she had asked her staff to consider other options for the Rickenbacker. Then she apologized and there was no follow-up question.

President Diaz followed the mayor and was asked the same question by veteran host Roberto Rodriguez Tejera. Diaz responded that the Rickenbacker is not just a transport project to repair bridges and roads, but it will be a “tourist destination” with the aforementioned amenities.

Diaz, also citing the ‘Cone of Silence’, did not answer the question as to why a few people closely associated with the Plan Z Consortium have such close ties – past and present – with the County Parks Department (PROS) .

“What was interesting was hearing the county commission call it a ‘tourist destination,’ said Fausto Gomez, a resident of Key Biscayne, who occasionally listens to the popular morning radio show.

When a bidder is finally selected after the December 13 deadline, the county will enter into an interim agreement with that winner for 18 months.

A lot can happen during this time. “We can (even) let it go (and start all over),” Regalado said.

She added: “The spontaneous proposal is by ordinance and we follow that directive. … In a perfect world, the county would have saved Bear Cut funding, but that’s not my call, it’s the mayor’s call.

An early Friday message to two of Regalado’s top staff by Islander News asking for answers to three questions went unanswered.

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