Long time resident questions value of Key Biscayne Beach Club membership
To fellow Key Biscayne Beach Club members, my family and I have been club members since 1954. I grew up on Key Biscayne’s beach and I remain nostalgic about the club, but after 66 loyal years I am considering dropping my membership. The club may be better suited for families with young children than it is for me as a retired newspaperman.
I usually walk from my home to the club, so the parking it affords holds no great advantage for me. Moreover, I only spend six months, from October to March, on the island. The club’s $695 membership fee seems quite steep for someone like me. Even if I go to the club on average twice a week, the dues work out to $13 a visit; once a week costs me $26. Of course, if I bring guests the cost is lower. But all I usually do is simply walk through the clubhouse for a stroll along the shoreline or sometimes some fishing.
Well, just next door to the club is the Village Beach Park, with easy access to the ocean. I now have an electronic entry key that I received for free from the Village. There are showers, bathrooms and a nicely maintained garden. My guests can accompany me there.
Five years ago I was happy to pay $400 in dues to maintain my family’s beach club membership. I thought that was fair. I can’t say paying $695 will break me, but where is the added value at this point? What has been left unsaid by the beach club board is that the higher dues are largely the result of a sharp fall in the membership. Once the club had a membership of close to 800. Today there are just over 500 paid members. If even 700 or so households were contributing, then dues could well be lower.
I am sad about this. I understand the (Key Biscayne) Yacht Club has tiered membership dues for different sorts of members, such as retirees. Maybe if the club’s board was a bit more creative they could keep me and even attract new members. After reading the letter from Club President Donna Rice, which accompanied this year’s bill, I don’t see an inclination to work for solutions that would appeal to someone like me. I don’t think I am alone in my sense that the old beach club faces a dire future.
Charles Sherman, reprinted from the author’s post on the Islander News Facebook page.