exterior of office building
Village Hall, Key Biscayne, seen Feb. 26, 2022. File. (KBI Photo/Theo Miller)
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Intent on defining the narrative when it comes to the “Big Dig” project, Key Biscayne officials chose a Miami Springs firm to head up its communication effort.

A five-member evaluation committee picked HML Public Outreach, which specializes in communication for government transportation projects. HML bid $200,000 according to a Jan. 10 memo.

The Village, in a memorandum, said it picked HML Public Outreach not only because of its strong presentation, but also because it understood the Village, provided a point person on day-to-day operations and proposed a detailed timeline. HML also said it would address improvements to the Village website.

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“We are really looking forward to working with the Village on sharing information and informing the community,” said Heather M. Leslie, principal of HML Public Outreach.

The “Big Dig” is by far the largest public works project undertaken on the island. It aims to replace the aging stormwater system, strengthen the island’s coastline against sea-level rise, and bury utility lines. 

Village Manager Steve Williamson presented a $248 million revised plan for the stormwater part of the project which cut costs by 19%. The Village Council is scheduled to decide whether to move forward with the lesser-cost plan at Tuesday’s Council meeting.

Some critics say the project is too costly.

“We want to get out the information and make sure we are accurate and transparent and folks are aware they have the opportunity to be part of the process. We want to engage,” Leslie said.

Williamson’s administration is not done on the communications front. 

There is another RFP where Key Biscayne is looking to hire a company to handle comprehensive strategic communications. Its aim is to strengthen  “our relationship with the community and regional partners” on all other issues.

Bids on the strategic contract, which officials said would help coordinate the Big Dig messaging effort with other Village communications, are due Jan. 31.

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JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.