|10 June 1999
The future of Miami Circle
The preservation of the Miami Circle, the enigmatic stone formation that harkens back to the Tequesta Indians, got a major boost Tuesday when Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Cabinet made the artifact the top priority under a state land purchasing program.
By adding the 38-foot-diameter circle to the state's Conservation and Recreational Lands program, Bush and the six-member Cabinet voted to purchase the site at its appraised value or at 50 percent of the developer's selling price, whichever option is cheaper.
The county still must come up with millions of dollars from private sources to preserve what county archaeologist Bob Carr says is a historically significant site that could be 2000 years old.
The circle, located on the south bank of the Miami River, is currently in limbo. The county has sued the developer and the city to buy the land and preserve the Circle on site. Developer Michael Baumann and Miami Mayor Joe Carollo want to move the formation, at Baumann's expense, to make way for a huge development project. He argues the significance of the Circle may be exaggerated. He noted that Jerald Milanich, curator of archaeology and chairman of the anthropology department of the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, recently suggested the circle may be only 100 years old.
Probably the state will ask Milanich to conduct an in-depth survey of the site before going any further. In the meantime, Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas is trying to raise the money needed to buy the circle. It will cost at least $8 million, the amount Baumann said he has spent buying the property and undertaking initial development work.
Source: Miami Herald
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