Gene Tinnie, Chair of the Virginia Key Park Trust, is the overseeing committee that continues to fight to preserve the historic 77-acre Virginia Key Park.
The island of Virginia Key has 1,000 acres sandwiched between the mainland and Key Biscayne. Mr. Tinnie said his group opposes development of the island for many reasons.” It is home to a historic site we want to re-create,” Mr. Tinnie said “we are also committed to restoring the environment and looking for funding to promote wildlife conservation.” To date, Mr. Tinnie said, the task force has been able to secure $11 million in federal money for land-shore restoration. His 15-member group was born in part as a reaction to a city proposal to allow commercial development in the late 1990s.”Had that happened,” he said, “people would have been deprived of a public park.”
Preservation leader Enid C. Pinkney has worked aggressively over the years to ensure that the role of African Americans in Miami’s history is acknowledged and preserved.
Pinkney was born the third of four children on October 15, 1931 in Miami-Dade County, Florida to Lenora and Henry Curtis. She graduated from the all-black Booker T. Washington High School in Miami in 1949, receiving a B.A. from Talladega College in 1953 and an M.S. from Barry University in 1967. Pinkney worked as a social worker from 1953 to 1955, after which she worked in the Dade County Public School System until she retired as Assistant Principal at South Miami Middle School in 1991.
She joined the Dade Heritage Trust historic preservation organization in the mid-1980s while Assistant Principal at South Miami Middle School. She was elected the first black president of the Trust in 1998. Pinkney is the founder of the African American Committee, which focuses on the contributions of blacks to the community. She has worked to preserve such historical sites as the landmark Brownsville Hotel, once the social and cultural epicenter of black Miami during segregation. Pinkney successfully led a group to form the Historic Hampton House Community Trust, working to save the hotel, which was declared a historical landmark in April 2002.
She is also an unofficial historian for Brown Sub, or Brownsville, the North Central Dade community where she lives. She has written a book and produced several videos on its history. The Miami Talladega College Alumni Association holds an Annual Enid C. Pinkney Humanitarian Awards Luncheon in which people are honored for their community contributions. Pinkney is married to Frank Pinkney, who is also involved with the Trust.
N. Patrick Range II, Treasurer. Mr. Range has been a member of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust Board since 2007. Mr. Range is the proud grandson of the late Mrs. M. Athalie Range, the founding chair of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust and the first African-American Commissioner in the City of Miami. Mr. Range has been a practicing attorney in the State of Florida since October 2002. Mr. Range is currently a sole practitioner in the areas of land-use, environmental, estate planning and probate law.
From August 2004 to late 2007, Mr. Range practiced environmental law at Greenberg Traurig, P.A., a multi-national law firm with over 1,700 attorneys. From October 2002 to August 2004, Mr. Range practiced government and land-use law as a legislative aide for then Commissioner Johnny L. Winton of the City of Miami. During this span of time, the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County experienced an unprecedented real estate and construction boom. Mr. Range remains proud to be an integral part of the development of Miami-Dade County. During Mr. Range’s career as an attorney, he has represented numerous developers and development entities before various municipalities in Miami-Dade County. He has also represented clients before Miami-Dade County, City of Miami, City of Sunny Isles Beach, City of Miami Beach, and the City of Opa-Locka among others.
Mr. Range is also a third generation operator/manager of Range Funeral Home since 2008. He received an Associate of Arts degree in Mortuary Science from Miami-Dade College in 2009. Mr. Range received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, cum laude from Morehouse College in 1999. He also received both a Juris Doctorate degree (2002) and a Master of Laws degree in Real Property Development from the University of Miami School of Law in 2004.
Mr. Range is a proud member of The Florida Bar and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. among many other affiliations.