Photo caption: Bernstein Park on Stock Island formally reopens on Aug. 15. CONTRIBUTED

After being closed for nearly two years, Monroe County’s Bernstein Park on Stock Island formnally reopened Wednesday. 

Prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at midday, the Board of County Commissioners had some questions answered at their meeting in Key West.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of stuff and want to clarify a couple of things,” said Commissioner Heather Carruthers. “I’m just trying to answer some questions and some rumors that have been circulating.”

She asked what money was used to pay for the park, community rooms and new 5,500-square-foot community center, which will open in the coming days when finishing touches are complete. 

Kevin Wilson, assistant county administrator, said all of the $7.9 million construction cost was paid for out of the county’s infrastructure sales tax fund. 

“Purchases in the unincorporated county paid for this park,” he said.

Carruthers asked who will pay for maintenance of the park, which also has a baseball field, playground and basketball court. 

“The county budget for unincorporated parks and beaches,” Wilson said. 

Does the City of Key West Police Department have a station at Bernstein Park? Carruthers asked, to which Wilson said the BOCC had approved an agreement with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which will oversee everything at the park. 

Key West city staff will perform scheduling of teams and playing times. The employee who will do the scheduling works under Marcus Davila, director of community services.

“There will be one central point for scheduling the fields,” Wilson said in response to a concern about teams “double dipping” for field time, from resident Diane Beruldsen, president and founder of the International Women’s Flag Football Association in Key West.

Tammy McGrail, on behalf of the Youth Recreation Action Committee, said she had heard from Davila at last week’s Key West City Commission meeting that there is no written policy for scheduling. 

“We just want to ask that there is a written policy,” she said.

“My understanding is the city’s process is to allocate blocks of time, then in that time individual leagues schedule within that block how their individual units use the time,” said Commissioner Danny Kolhage. 

The park will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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