By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When the Miami Circle was discovered in 1998, it grabbed a lot of attention.

The site, officially called the “Brickell Point Site,” was listed on the National Register of Historic Sites on February 5, 2002.

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Today, the park needs serious updating to be preserved.

The site is surrounded by the condo canyon that is the downtown Miami—Brickell area.

Archeologists say it is the vestige of a native American settlement from 2,700 years ago.

“The view, the expanses, millionaires pay zillions to own property like this,” said Horacio Aguirre,
chair of the Miami River Commission.

In 1998, a millionaire developer owned the property and wanted to put up a condo, before archeologists made the find.

They discovered a perfect circle, 38 feet in diameter. It was determined that this had been a significant site.

Important to indigenous people and the place became known as the birthplace of Miami.

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The find was not without controversy concerning authenticity, but $26.7 million took care of the developer and the site became the property of the state of Florida.

“That is the very first Miami by all historical accounts. Throughout history, indigenous people preferred locations where land met water. It was the source of food and means of transportation,” said Aguirre.

To preserve the site, the state actually covered up the circle and put up lots of signage explaining the site. Made it into a green space, that attracted locals and their pets and some tourists, but over the years, constant saltwater spray, tropical storms, and the Miami Circle became an unofficial dog park.

“It is a very difficult and challenging location to maintain. For one thing, it is exposed to all the elements,” said Aguirre.

So, what’s in store for the Miami Circle besides lots of salt-resistant sod? For sure, not the covered facility many would like to see. No additional visitors parking, nor display of artifacts found on-site, but more weather resistant foliage for $600,000.

“It’s going to look like a small beautiful well-kept park. It is going to look nice, very manicured without being labor-intensive,” adds Aguirre.

Kind of like it was when the park was first created, but preserved as it has been for twenty years, until more ambitious plans may surface.

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So, while the park is being revamped, the Miami Circle will be closed for 100 calendar days beginning June 14th.