Miami park plan would keep ancient Indian artifact hidden

MIAMI — The Miami Circle, the 2,000-year-old Native American site that taxpayers shelled out $27 million to buy 10 years ago, may finally open to the public under a frugal state plan that would create a low-key park around the ancient landmark.

The $750,000 plan calls for a paved promenade around the 2.2-acre site at the mouth of the Miami River, a drop-off circle for school buses and cars, modest landscaping and lighting and a few interpretive signs.

The circle itself — a carving in the limestone that archaeologists believe supported a structure with ceremonial uses — will remain invisible for now because the state has neither a plan nor the money to display it yet. Instead, stones would mark the circumference of the circle, which is protected under several layers of fill.

There is a hitch, however. The state and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, which manages the site under contract, are at least $250,000 short of the amount needed for park construction.

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