Thumbs Up From Council For Preserve Projects
Plantation Tropical Preserve, Key Tree Cactus Preserve Discussed

The Islamorada Village Council gave the go ahead for improvements at two Village-owned preserve properties at the February 17, 2022, regular meeting. 

Council approved of conceptual designs at the Plantation Tropical Preserve, 146 Sunshine Blvd., and approved a resolution to hire K2M Design for a third round of amenities at the Key Tree Cactus Preserve.

Plantation Tropical Preserve

Environmental Resources Manager Peter Frezza gave an update at the February 17 meeting on both properties and presented results of a January open house held at the Plantation Tropical Preserve.
"We’ve been developing a design in cooperation with our consultant, the CSA Group,” Frezza said, adding most of the proposed developments for Plantation Tropical Preserve are set for the 146 Sunshine Blvd. entry point.

There used to be a mobile home on the property, which was leveled in 2021 and replaced with fill and vegetation for buffering. The space gives access to the preserve via a mulched walkway. 

Four gravel parking spots are planned for the lot along with the planting of native shade trees, a bike rack, bench, water fountain and 15-by-15-foot pavilion with two picnic tables. On the east end of the property, an 18-by-22-foot covered pavilion is planned, as school groups use the park for learning opportunities. There is also a kayak launch already at the Preserve. A restroom is not planned for the site. The CSA Group will now develop final design plans for the project. The plans will be included in a Request for Proposals (RFP) that the Village will issue to engage the services of a contractor for project construction subject to approval by the Village Council at a future meeting.

Key Tree Cactus Preserve

Council approved a resolution to move ahead with the third phase of development at Key Tree Cactus Preserve, 81224 Overseas Highway.

Frezza said the Village completed the second of three phases at the preserve in 2021 with the development of mulched walking path, construction of a paver path, a short boardwalk through mangroves, a kayak landing and a 10-space parking area.

“The third and final phase, which we initiated this year includes a restroom, a small gazebo, an informational kiosk and driveway access to U.S. 1,” Frezza said. “K2M was selected to complete the design of these new amenities, which they did accomplish to our satisfaction, and the Village is proposing now to continue using K2M to complete the documentation and permitting process.”


Parks and recreation impact fees, which are collected on new development, are being used to fund both projects. The impact fees are restricted for use on capital projects needed to accommodate needs associated with growth and development within the community.

Costs associated with the Plantation Tropical Preserve project will be presented to the Village Council for consideration and approval at the same time that the contractor selection is presented for approval. The Key Tree Cactus Preserve project agreement with K2M for design services totals $58,560. The Village will go through a similar RFP process to select a contractor and identify costs for construction of the additional amenities at Key Tree Cactus Preserve.

More Information

The 3.5-acre Plantation Tropical Nature Preserve is open to the public from sunrise to sunset and contains a rare segment of Rockland Hammock. Additionally, Plantation Tropical Nature Preserve is home to the Children's Memorial Garden and a butterfly garden.

The Key Tree Cactus Preserve property is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It is named for the endangered Key tree cactus, which is found only in parts of the Keys and possibly Cuba. The Key Tree cactus population at the preserve is one of only eight such populations in the world. 

The property was purchased by the Village in 2009 with Florida Forever grant assistance received from the Florida Communities Trust. The Village partnered with The Conservation Fund to purchase nine acres of uplands and mangrove wetlands with frontage along the Florida Bay.

The first phase of the master plan development was completed at the preserve in 2016 and included a small parking area, picnic pavilion, paver path, benches and playground climbing equipment.

For more information regarding the Preserves, contact Peter Frezza, Environmental Resources Manager, at 305-664-6427 or email peter.frezza@islamorada.fl.us