Most Belle Isle residents don’t know this, but a group of volunteers who live on the island devote dozens of hours each month — collectively hundreds of hours — looking out for us.
They squeeze long-winded government meetings into their busy work days. They cajole public officials to do right. They get to know politicians, planners, road engineers so they can plead, protest, praise — all in the interest of our quality of life on this little island.
You have a voice because they take the time.
But….you aren’t as well represented as you could be. If you live in Costa Brava, The Vistas, Belle Isle Key, the Island House apartments or the bungalow homes, no one from your area serves on the residents association board of directors.
At its annual meeting on Jan. 18, the Belle Isle Homeowner Association elected three board members: Belle Tower resident Charles Urstadt, Belle Plaza resident Nancy Beckham, and Jean-Francois Lejeune, also of Belle Plaza.
Lejeune is an architecture professor at the University of Miami, and starts his second term. (His wife, Astrid, serves as a substitute when his isn’t available.)
Urstadt, who runs a real estate firm, is the chair of the Miami Design Preservation League.
Beckham is a designer who has experience running hotels in the Caribbean.
They join BIRA president Scott Diffenderfer (Belle Plaza), vice president Josh Fisher (9 Island Avenue), treasurer Herb Frank (Grand Venetian), Secretary Sandra Money (Terrace Tower) and board members Nancy Liebman (9 Island), Barbara Frank (Grand Venetian), David Leeds (Belle Plaza) and Monica Tracy (Island Terrace). Those board members are all halfway through two-year terms.
“We’d love to have some people step up” from the buildings that lack a board member, Diffenderfer said at the Jan. 18 meeting.
It could make a difference for you and your neighbors.