A group of county officials and Harry Harris neighborhood residents walked out onto a revamped Wilkinson Point during a sunny, hot early evening on June 14. A celebration of a reinvigorated county park in Tavernier culminated in a ribbon-cutting with county commissioners and a walk around the park to view several completed projects.
Hurricane Irma’s arrival in September 2017 brought heavy damage to Harry Harris Park’s infrastructure and amenities, forcing closures of the jetty and Wilkinson Point. In 2018, county officials began to refurbish boat ramps and replace lighting at the ballfields. By 2019, permitting began for the jetty, beach and Wilkinson Point.
A year later, walking paths and the basketball courts were resurfaced. By 2021, permitting for the beach, jetty and Wilkinson Point was finalized. Repairs on the jetty and Wilkinson Point began earlier this year.
“I hope the entire neighborhood enjoys this park, because this is spectacular,” Monroe County Mayor David Rice said.
Cary Knight, head of project management for Monroe County, said the celebration of reopening Harry Harris Park’s amenities was about teamwork following Irma. The county Facilities Maintenance Department did work in-house, while Suzi Rubio – executive assistant to Kevin Wilson, the assistant county administrator – was instrumental in carrying Wilkinson Point to the finish line. The architectural and engineering firm CPH Inc. helped bring the jetty project to completion.
“There are a lot of projects that we had to do over the last four years and we’ve learned a lot from that,” Knight said.
Harry Harris Park amenities include 11 pavilions, 34 picnic tables, playground, protected beach and swimming area, baseball fields and restroom access, among other things. The pet-friendly park is free to local residents, while nonresidents pay a fee during the weekends, holidays and lobster mini season.
John Allen, Monroe County Parks and Facilities director, said Rubio was instrumental with the jetty and point projects.
“She has a passion for everything she does,” he said.
Harry Harris park is open from sunrise to sunset.
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