Belle Isle (Miami Beach)
|Neighborhood of Miami Beach|
Belle Isle and the Venetian Causeway, circa 1960s
|Nickname(s): Bull Isle (historic name)|
|• Miami Beach Mayor||Philip Levine|
|• Miami-Dade County Commissioner||Bruno Barreiro|
|• House of Representatives||Cynthia A. Stafford (D)|
|• State Senate||Gwen Margolis (D)|
|• U.S. House||Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R)|
|Elevation||3 ft (0.9 m)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-05)|
|Area code(s)||305, 786|
Belle Isle is a neighborhood of South Beach in the city of Miami Beach on a barrier island in Biscayne Bay, Florida, United States. It is the easternmost of the Venetian Islands, a chain of artificial islands in Biscayne Bay in the cities of Miami and Miami Beach. It is home to apartment buildings, a portion of the Venetian Causeway, a city of Miami Beach park, and a hotel. It is between Rivo Alto Island and the main barrier island of Miami Beach.
Belle Isle was originally called "Bull Isle", and was later renamed. Unlike the other Venetian Islands, Belle Isle is not completely artificial. Like the Sunset Islands, Belle Isle was originally a rough mangrove hammock island sitting in north Biscayne Bay near the Miami barrier islands, before the use of the term "Miami Beach".
Before fruit farmer John S. Collins partnered with the wealthy investor Carl G. Fisher to build the Collins Bridge from Miami in 1913, the new luxury properties under development in Miami Beach and Collins' large avocado orchards were inaccessible except by ferry boat. When Collins dug the Collins Canal, work crews deposited dredged sand around the rough island at the mouth of the canal, increasing its land mass and defining its shape. The "improved" island, now cleared of mangroves and platted into small parcels of land for single-family homes, extended into Biscayne Bay and allowed Collins and Fisher to build a relatively short wooden bridge across the bay by running the road over Belle Isle. The gateway to Miami Beach earned a reputation as an enclave for fashionable millionaires, such as Joseph H. Adams, whose sprawling estate occupied the southeast corner of the island.
During the Florida land boom of the 1920s, Belle Isle and Fisher's nearby Flamingo Hotel were the site of the famous Biscayne Bay Speed Boat Regattas. Fisher had successfully promoted automobile races in Indianapolis, and he used his skills to stage gasoline-powered speed boat races in the smooth waters of Biscayne Bay just south of Belle Isle as a spectacle to attract the wealthy and sophisticated tourists that he was seeking as a target audience for his new exotic vacation destination.
In 1942, the University of Miami turned a boat house on the Joseph H. Adams estate into the first "Marine Lab" for the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Belle Isle was also the site of the All Souls Episcopal Church as late as 1947.
The Belle Isle Residents Association was established in December, 2004. Board meets approximately 6 times per year. General Membership Meetings are called as needed at a minimum of once a year. The association's mission is to "enhance the quality of life for the residents of Belle Isle", specifically regarding "security, traffic control, ease of parking, noise control, park beautification, cleanliness, open spaces, planning, development, licensing, permitting, and all issues that may affect the residents and their quality of life on Belle Isle".
Belle Isle Park, in the center of Belle Isle, recently underwent a renovation project including sidewalks, lighting and landscape improvements, picnic areas, and a dog park. A streetscape improvement project for the Venetian bridges is planned for 2008 and 2009.
Parking was free on Island Avenue on Belle Isle until 2005, when residents petitioned the city of Miami Beach to create a new residential parking zone in order to ensure parking for residents after the opening of the Standard Hotel. Island Avenue is now a residential parking zone, and you must buy a permit for Zone 14. The Miami Beach parking department office at 11th and Washington is temporarily closed during renovation of the city hall building, so the department is handling many permits by mail. Belle Isle residents can purchase a one-year residential decal or one visitor permit hang tag per household for $46.00 or a six-month pass for $23.00. Belle Isle residents can also purchase up to five scratch-off one-day visitor permits per month for $1.07 each.
During park renovations, the city will need to close about 20 parking spaces at a time to make way for roadway construction. They will do the road work in sections, using a temporary 20-space parking lot toward the East end of the park to compensate for the closed parking spaces.
- Biscayne Island – Original site of Viking Airport.
- Collins Bridge – The first bridge from Miami to Miami Beach, which ran over Bull/Belle Isle.
- Flagler Monument Island – Site of an obelisk monument to Henry M. Flagler.
- Flamingo Hotel, Miami Beach – Carl G. Fisher's famous luxury hotel near Belle Isle.
- Isola di Lolando – A failed Venetian Island construction project.
- Venetian Causeway – The modern replacement for the Collins Bridge, which today runs over Belle Isle.
- Starfish Island – A landmark in the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is based on Belle Isle.
- Braham D. Lavender, Miami Beach in 1920 pg. 27, 2002
- The City of Miami Beach Ordinance No. 170, January 28, 1922, page 3, accessed on 2006-06-13
- The Rosenstiel School: A Brief History
- photograph: All Souls Episcopal Church, #18 Belle Isle, Miami Beach, 4-27-47 by Romer, Gleason Waite, 1887–1971.
- "Neighborhood Associations". The City of Miami web site. Archived from the original on 2006-09-07. Retrieved 2006-06-15.
- "By Laws". Belle Isle Residents Association web site. Archived from the original on 10 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-11.
- "Park Construction Photos". Retrieved 2006-06-19.
- The City of Miami Beach (2003-10-06). "Park Planning Documents". Belle Isle Hardscape Plan. Belle Isle Residents Association. Retrieved 2006-06-15.
- Belle Isle Residents Association (2006-02-20). "Minutes of the Feb 15th 2006 BIRA board meeting". Retrieved 2006-06-15.
- "Residential Parking Permit Application" (PDF). The City of Miami Beach Parking & Transportation Department. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2006-06-19.
- Anasagasti, Susan (2006-05-21). "Repairs force tenants out of Old City Hall". The Miami Herald.
- "Parking During Park Construction". Belle Isle Residents Association web site. Retrieved 2006-07-11.
- City of Miami Beach
- Belle Isle Residents Association
- Satellite photo of Belle Isle
- Belle Isle on a map
- Photographs of current park construction: Park Construction Photos For Travelers
- Historical photograph: East bridge of Venetial[sic] Way
- Historical photographs from Miami Beach document archival system: