A conceptual design is in the final stages of upgrading the Islamorada Plantation Tropical Reserve. A new access point, parking lot, landscaping and covered pavilions are among the proposed developments for the 3.5-acre site near Tavernier Creek.

Owned by the village and located in Tavernier, the park is open from sunrise to sunset every day. The park contains a rare Rockland Hammock segment, and it is home to the Children’s Memorial Garden and the Butterfly Garden.

Proposed improvements to the reservation date back to 2020 when the village council unanimously approved the purchase of property at 146 Sunshine Blvd. for $200,000. The purchase opened up opportunities to expand the reserve and promote more conservation areas, parks and recreation facilities. It also allowed the village to create a buffer zone between a sewage pumping station and neighboring residences.

“It was also an ideal location to create a new safe and easily accessible entrance from the highway, especially for all residents who live in the Tavernaero neighborhood,” said Peter Frezza, environmental resources manager for the village. . “The park is used a lot by dog ​​walkers.”

With the property purchased, the village demolished a mobile home and leveled the property by adding fill. Native plants have been planted in the ground to provide a buffer zone for neighbors in the area. Frezza said they were looking to provide passive park equipment.

“We don’t want to do anything garish and draw attention to the park,” he said. “It’s a low-key park that residents and visitors alike can enjoy.”

The reserve is next to a canal that provides public access to Tavernier Creek, Florida Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

In July, the village council selected CSA Central, Inc. to provide a conceptual site plan for Plantation Tropical Preserve. A recent open house with the Village, CSA and community outlined proposed improvements including new ADA access, gravel parking, signage, covered pavilions and new access on Sunshine Boulevard.

Frezza said final design plans for Plantation Tropical Preserve are expected to be completed by the end of March. No specific timeline has been set for construction.

Improvements to Plantation Tropical Preserve complement work at two other village preserves. At Green Turtle Hammock Preserve, work is nearing completion on a large two-story pavilion and sweeping Florida Bay views. Restrooms, a kayak launch ramp, mooring facilities and a parking area were also part of the improvements made to the reserve. The reserve, with its 8.7 acres, was acquired in 2006. The property was once home to Councilman Henry Rosenthal.

Key Tree Cactus Preserve is entering its final phase of development. Toilets and a gazebo have been installed. There is also a new exit from the park to US 1. In March 2021, village council members said “yes” to developments in the park, which contains approximately 9 acres on Upper Matecumbe Key.

Frezza said those wishing to provide further comment on the reserve or the parks can do so by contacting him at 305-664-6427 or via email. [email protected]

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