Metropolis of Miami closes Virginia Key Outside Middle over code violations


Virginia Key Outdoor Center. Photo courtesy of Esther Alonso

The city of Miami closed the Virginia Key Outdoor Center on Friday for multiple code violations and more than $140,000 in overdue rent.

  • The recreation center’s operations and marketing director, Diana Perez-Pazos, told Axios that police threatened to arrest her if she refused to sign an affidavit about the code violations.
  • The center, which is located on municipal property, shared surveillance video of the police investigation with WPLG Local 10.

What you say: Both Perez-Pazos and the center’s owner, Esther Alonso, have denied the allegations. Perez-Pazos told Axios she believes the closure may be retaliation for the center’s opposition to a city proposal to build a homeless camp on Virginia Key, a claim Alonso also made to Islander News.

  • “Something’s going on. It’s not okay that they use law enforcement as a means of intimidation,” Perez-Pazos said.

said Perez Pazos She signed the affidavit – and provided a fingerprint – to avoid arrest. She said she awaits notice to appear in court and eventually the termination of the center’s lease with the city.

  • “When you have seven cops in a room, it just seemed unnecessary,” she said. “That is much.”

said Alonso In a statement on Instagram, she fears that the move is a pretext for the island park’s real estate development.

  • “If Virginia Key falls, every other park in the city of Miami will undergo development,” Alonso said.

Between the lines: The City of Miami has historically been backed by decisions to allow private development on public lands, such as B. the Inter Miami football stadium, which is intended for the Melreese golf course.

  • Alonso accused City Commissioner Joe Carollo, who led the homeless proposal and was recently accused by the owner of Ball & Chain restaurant and the city’s former police chief, of using power for his political gain.
  • Carollo told WPLG he was unaware of the eviction and said Alonso “has to take a cold shower.”


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