Residents of the Keys could be seeing some neat changes coming to parks and beaches

August 9 – It’s been a busy time with recreation in the Keys and in order to have fun, parks and beaches need to be ready for the visitors.

John Allen, director of Monroe County Parks and Beaches, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5 FM to discuss the latest happenings with parks and beaches in the area.

Allen is working on providing recreation programs at the facilities in Monroe County.

Allen will meet with people at Bernstein Park on Stock Island at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow to talk about programs people might be interested in.

Additionally, the old “swimming hole” as everyone refers to it in Big Pine at the Pine Channel Nature Park, will open on August 24, and include kayaking and paddle boarding.

The park was renovated through a grant.

Allen said, “It’s a great, beautiful park that the community is going to enjoy. We’re looking forward to that opening.”

Playgrounds are being built at various parks and others are being changed out.  

Allen said, “We’ve got a lot going on an it’s just a great time. We’re trying to meet the recreation needs of the entire community.”

The community is often asked how parks and beaches can be improved.

Allen said, “I did go to some of the elementary schools or some of the after school programs and I met with the kids to give their expertise because they use it more than we do about the playgrounds. So the kids actually came up with the idea of the playground up in Key Largo with the treehouse theme. Getting input from the children who utilize our parks is something that I enjoy. I’ll be going out to some more schools to do that.”

When talking with adults in the community, a number of citizens want to live a healthy lifestyle and are looking for outdoor updated fitness equipment, as well as more amenities at the park.

Allen said, “That’s what we’re going to provide. We’re listening to the input. We’ll have a survey probably going out later this year asking the community what they want. What kinds of programs, what type of amenities and things that they would like to live their healthy lifestyle.”

There are also parks opening up in Marathon, but they are under the city’s jurisdiction.

Allen said, “We work well. I think the city of Marathon’s doing a fantastic job, the city of Key West, you know, we talk and communicate and see what they’re doing, see what I’m doing and share resources and provide what we can to the entire Monroe County.”

The Upper Keys are also seeing some new projects in the future.

Allen said, “Harry Harris Wilkinson Point was just completed. If you haven’t that it’s just an amazing thing to kind of get out there and walk out there and the view from there is just spectacular.”

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