Monday, December 11, 2006

Hialeah Park Bites the Dust Unless Citizens Unite by geniusofdespair


According to Daily Business Review Article by Oscar Musibay:

"In the ’30s, horses like Seabiscuit kicked up dirt at Hialeah Park for some of the largest purses in the country.

In years past, the money and the romance of the limestone-faced clubhouse became a magnet for the rich and famous, drawing the likes of Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and J.P. Morgan up a majestic palm-lined drive.

A resident flock of flamingos, an infield mainstay, can still be seen in the credits of “Miami Vice” reruns.

But little would remain of that slice of South Florida history under a redevelopment plan submitted by track owner John Brunetti to the South Florida Regional Planning Council."
(I didn't link because you can't get to articles in the Daily Business Review)

The plan calls for high, middle, and low rise residential, mixed used, the usual.

Here is an appeal from a Hialeah Group looking for supporters to help turn the old track into a park rather than just another mixed use development:

Dear Concerned Citizens and Community Activists:

We are on a race to save Hialeah Park (Hialeah Park Race Track) and are reaching out to people all over South Florida who wish to join The Citizens' of South Florida for the Preservation of the Hialeah Race Track.

The Citizens of South Florida for the Preservation of the Hialeah Race Track is a group of community residents from all over South Florida working to increase public awareness and attain local, state and federal support necessary for the acquisition, restoration and preservation of Hialeah Park.

Membership is Free. You simply provide your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address, and we will keep you informed on the issue. If you would like to join the Citizens of South Florida for the Preservation of the Hialeah Race Track, please respond back with a big YES and send your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address to herrera101@aol.com

I think this is an important effort and I am always glad to help my friends in Hialeah who want to save some greenspace for their children. However, if this worthy Group believes that Hialeah's Government cares what other think outside of Hialeah, they might be in for a rude awakening.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is not just a Hialeah issue. Anyone who cares about the preservation of Florida's important historic places should be calling the Hialeah commissioners and urging them to save a most important chapter in Florida history. The park can be adaptively reused for many purposes. Right now, the plan is to turn the place into another hum-drum shopping mall and some housing. The owner will get richer, but the people of Florida will have lost a major historic treasure. The city of Hialeah should study and demand a creative plan that saves the integrity of the Park and gives it a new useful life. Mayor Martinez revitalized Hialeah's downtown using new urban concepts. The Hialeah City Council should follow that lead with Hialeah Park. Destroying the only National Register site is the wrong direction.

E. Medina said...

The previous poster is absolutely correct it’s not just about horses or the track it’s about preserving Florida History. The Hialeah Park Racetrack has been featured in numerous movies through out the decades and has become a landmark in central Miami Dade County. The value of the property has no bearing here; why not tear down all the other landmarks? Why not destroy Vizcaya, I am sure that the property on the bay is worth billions, why not have destroyed the Biltmore Hotel in the Gables and built custom luxury homes for the wealthy? The Hialeah Race track is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places but apparently this means nothing to the developer or land owner whose only concern is adding another dollar to their back statement. Historic places and Landmarks are the only legacy we leave behind for our children and their children to know who their parents and grandparents were and what they built and did. Hey lets go tear down the Parthenon in Athens, and the Coliseum in Rome, they are just old buildings left behind from previous civilizations who cares if their gone!
The people who live in Hialeah and Miami Dade should all come together and start preserving their history and landmarks, we built this place we should take part in preserving it. Who needs another mall or another building complex? The people of Hialeah have seen lots of landmarks and historic places go by the wayside in the name of progress, last was the Hialeah Race Track, the circle track right off the Palmetto and Okeechobee Road, the race track was a landmark since the mid- 50's and its now gone for what? A mall?
Its time to take a stand and protect some history!

olay said...

Miami, Fl.

I couldn’t agree more with the previous comments. I grew up in Hialeah and worked a summer at the track as a young man. Several of my friends and family used the gardens and ground as a backdrop for wedding pictures. Many of the girls I went to school with also took their 15’s pictures there. NICE MEMORIES! It’s hard to believe that the powers that be in Hialeah can’t come up with a better plan for this historical site. Where are the leaders? What happened to using eminent domain? Why can’t the track be preserved under the Landmark Conservation Act? What is the deal with the current ownership? Who is this guy –flush him out. Hialeah does not need any more condos and, Florida already has enough places to gamble. The track should be preserved for the benefit of future generations. It links Hialeah to the incredible history of South Florida. I believe this landmark should be preserved and used to enhance Hialeah’s history. Hialeah’s business community has a lot to gain by working together to conserve this site and share its rich history with the rest of South Florida. I don’t think business interests and the consciences preservation of historical places are at odds with each other. Step Up!

A. Fuentes said...

Thank you all for your support. Please read this Dec. 10 Miami Herald article "High stakes for Hialeah: Is the city's 1925 race track -- a national landmark -- in imminent danger?"

By BETH DUNLOP
bdunlop@MiamiHerald.com

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/16197813.htm

Alex
Hialeah, FL

Anonymous said...

i hope all you hialeah residents are voting to recall the vile natacha!

Milly Herrera said...

Anywhere else, Hialeah Park would have been restored and preserved a long time ago. Either the horses would still be racing there or the park would have been designated a historic landmark, received state and federal funding, and currently be the pride for our city. Hialeah Park is our city's most significant historic site, a place that honors our city's founders, its first architects and builders, the thoroughbreds who raced here, and the millions of tourists who once considered our city a preferred vacation destination. Slowly, but surely, our city can be all that again. For now, we can start with Hialeah Park. We want the park to be restored and preserved for its architectural and historical significance, if not a race track, then as a place that will welcome visitors to our city and hold cultural events and evening galas. We will argue any plans to develop on the historic park area and its gardens, modify it in any way, or move any of the buildings, fountains and statues from their original place. Hialeah is not only the City of Progress, it is also the Home of the Thoroughbreds. Even if they never race here again, they will forever be part of our history. Any intent to destroy or modity this historic site will receive major opposition. We invite anyone interested in the preservation of Hialeah Park to contact us.
Milly Herrera
Hialeah, Florida
herrera101@aol.com

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Truly Blue

Here is another issue close to my heart, saving Parks. Many of us have worked to preserve water front parks from developers and baseball stadiums, now it is time to do the same in Hialeah.

The park put Hialeah on the map. When I was in school, many of my classmates' parents worked at the track and as an adult I have met more whose fathers were trainers. We witnessed the track in all its glory with throngs of people attending the races and bringing big dollars to spend in the community near and wide.

Huge parts of the movie "The Champ" were filmed there as well, and many may remember a young Ricky Schroeder in that movie.

Let's do the right thing and create a movement of preservation and restoration of this incredible park in the State's fifth largest city.

Perhaps if the owners, the Brunetti family, is inspired by the activism, they will do the right thing for History, for Hialeah and for the State of Florida!

SAVE Hialeah Race Track!

Anonymous said...

I cant believe they want to tear down the Horse track, I dont live in Hialeah anymore but one of my more memorable memories of back home has always been the horse track and the memories of my grandmother (abuelita) knowing that my grandfather was down at the track betting on the horses, and all the friends were there with him and I remember my grandfather and his friends wearing their wide rim straw hats and their guyaberas and going to the track.....its a shame that the people who live their now dont stand up for it, and I can understand that everyone whos moved into that area newly or in the past 10 years dont know or understand the tradition there at the track. The older residents should be in an uproar about this...
SAVE THE TRACK!

Anonymous said...

SAVE THE TRACK SAVE HIALEAH!

Anonymous said...

LA CIUDAD DE PROGRESO?? A CUESTA DE QUE???

Anonymous said...

LET IT RIDE.....
LETS ALL HAVE A GOOD DAY

Anonymous said...

For all you young folk “Let it Ride” was a movie filmed at Hialeah Park

Genius of Despair said...

I removed a link to a "My Space" account that did not work and we really don't want to link to My Space at this time reader, but thank you for trying.

Hialeahanstodumpnatacha said...

Make sure you all read the Natacha Seijas article in New Times. You should deliver the article to your friends and relatives.

Anonymous said...

Long before immigrating to Miami I came many times as a tourist and always visited the Hialeah race track. My family and I loved this place.

Why doesn't the former Mayor Raul Martinez, initiate a campaign to save this landmark and again convert it into a tourist attraction? I'm sure his friend Robaina will follow his lead. It's time to save our historic sites from the claws of our insatiable developers -we have enough condos and townhouses overbuilt everywhere- leave some open spaces to oxigenate South Florida.

Genius of Despair said...

Totally agree with the last post. I think some of the writers here should descend on Hialeah City Hall and put some pressure on the powers that be. And, it might be a good time to get a promise out of the Vile Natacha. After all, the track is in her district.

Hialeah is so paved over, this park is needed for passive green space. I see ball fields, but where do people in Hialeah picnic? Yes, Natacha, I have been to Hialeah (she asks everyone who is not Hispanic who comes before her, if they have ever been to Hialeah). And, Natacha, why don't you live there?

Anonymous said...

It is really heartening to see the passionate responses to the fact that Hialeah Race Track might disappear from South Florida. With a little creative juice from the Hialeah City Council, the integrity of the track can be adapted for a new use. You would think the Council would give it priority attention. After all, the historic treasure bears the name of their city. The Council needs to use a little energy to hire a quality architect who understands historic properties and how to adapt them to new successful uses. There are many outstanding architects in Florida who understand this concept. Or, the Hialeah Council needs to investigate public programs that can fund the purchase of this beautiful open space. WHERE IS THE HIALEAH HISTORIC PRESERVATION BOARD ON THIS MATTER? The track is probably the most important matter they will ever discuss. Wake up Hialeah. You have a grand opportunity to show the world you care about saving a piece of your city's history.

Anonymous said...

This reader calls upon the Hialeah Mayor to meet with some of the leading preservationists in South Florida to discuss ways to save Hialeah Race Track, an extraordinary historic treasure in the middle of his city.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE HIALEAH

I'm on board...I'd like to see the original structure remodeled to accomodate events such as conferences, parties and so fourth, while maintaining the original fascade of the building.
Looking at the picture of the original grounds with the white tables and chairs... I can just picture sitting out there on a beautiful afternoon that we all enjoy here in South Florida and enjoying a nice drink, maybe some latin jazz from local artists, a nice meal, book reading, picnic areas, maybe an amusement park..
a mini museum of Hialeah's history that could perhaps feature works from local city and county artists... so many wonderful things that I can think of... we are such a city rich with culture and diversity, but we're not putting it out there the way I know that we can. Why is Coral Gables always considered the meca or art and ritziness.. why is Hialeah always trashed as void of culture and class... We were the first city West of Miami... we should be above all the other cities.. People should be wishing they could live in our city.. not deperate to get out.I'm tired of hearing the disgusting and degrading comments about our city and those who live in Hialeah should be too....
LET'S DO THIS!!!! DSAVE THE PARK!!!

Anonymous said...

We must consider the repercussions that commercial and/or residential redevelopment project on or adjacent to such a significant piece of history will have in 30-40 years once these new structures built of ubiquitously produced materials become old and undesirable. Will future generations ultimately loose admiration for the original historic structures and grounds because the precedence of compromise and disrespect was already set by generations decades before? Will developers in the future build on our compromise even further and encroach ever so slightly until all is overtaken? Do you think that is not likely or even possible? Keep in mind that the stables were just historically declassified to be demolished. Will these newer structures be built of exquisite design with rare and/or elegant building materials such as limestone, coquina, marble, granite etc? I sincerely doubt that will be the case.

People of Hialeah! We must set the example for our children and their children in the same way that our ancestors have for us. Cubans especially should understand this concept as much as any other nationality as we are extremely conscious of our history. Our grandparents would die instantly if they were to learn that the famed Havana sea wall “El Malecon” and “El Morro” light house were to make way for high-rise Condominiums, or upon hearing the news that the Old Havana Cathedral would be replaced by a bland Big-Box store. Hey how about a nice strip mall down el “Paseo del Prado.” Would this be happening in Coral Gables? Of course not! The people of Coral Gables will never stand for it. That’s right…it comes down to the people. Cubans have predominated in this city for decades, we have inherited the Hialeah Park Race Track and therefore we are responsible for it. PERIOD! Any harm that should come to the historic character of this precious site will be rightfully blamed on the Cuban people. If that vile, failed and corrupt government 90 miles away is able to protect its most priceless relics just imagine what we can do for this park. Do not confuse apathy for reality.


Thank you all for your passionate support.


Alex Fuentes

Hialeah, FL

Genius of Despair said...

Okay Hialeah people. You are writing up a storm. Let's see if you can gain any ground with the powers that be in Hialeah.

What do you want to do with the racetrack? Go to the Hialeah Council with a plan. Although there is already a plan at the South Florida Regional Planning Council. Has anyone seen the plan? YOU MUST GO SEE IT.

Alex Fuentes said...

Public ownership as a historic park is the only way we can assure its preservation for future generations. Here is the redevelopment plan submitted to the South Florida Regional Planning Council. This or any similar redevelopment will strip Hialeah Park of its place in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and its eligibility for National Historic Landmark (NHL) status granted in 1988 by the United States Secretary of Interior.

The link below will take you directly to the "Maps" section. The "Maps" (#9) page includes the Master Plan, aerial photographs, elevations etc. It is a huge PDF file give it a minute to load completely. http://www.sfrpc.org/data/dri/Hialeah%20Park/Question%2009.pdf


Here is the link for the entire "application for development approval." from the South Florida Regional Planning Council Development of Regional Impact. Click on the green squares to the right of the description for the detailed information. http://www.sfrpc.com/dri/hialeah%20park.htm

Steve Hagen said...

Most, if not all of Miami-Dade municipalities and the County itself provide park acreage far short of other US cities. Hialaah and the surroundig area is no exception.

This historic park must be preseved for all the people of the region to enjoy in our park deficit county.

Impact fees on constuction, collected by Miami-Dade County, should pay for the bulk of the purchase and improvment costs.

Likewise, the County should bear the bulk of the costs of improving Bicentennial Park on the waterfront of Miami which was purchased by the residents of Miami as indeed, this waterfront park will be a regional park serving all of Miami-Dade residents.

Steve Hagen, Parks Committee of Miami Neighborhoods United

Anonymous said...

It would be devastating if this park is replaced by another generic mall or subdivision. It has been around since the 1920's and everyone's parents, grandparents, and great grandparents have fond memories of it!

Genius of Despair said...

I totally agree. Hialeah has always been known for those pink flamingos soaring in the wind. As a teenager, I knew the name "Hialeah" and I lived in New York. I hope that the residents will have success with preserving this Historic Site. I am not a big fan of gambling, but I am of SOME open space in an urban setting for the residents to enjoy.

Freddy Flamingo said...

Thank you everyone for showing the love to historic Hialeah, we thought people just stopped caring

Anonymous said...

The way to save Hialeah is to get Gulfstream Park and Calder to give Hialeah Park exclusive racing dates in January. Mkae it a one month race festival like Saratoga.

The fight should be in Tallahassee, with the House and Senate. Remember, Senator Casas kept Hialeah open. Senator Rudy Garcia has no power and has never done anything for the Park. WHY??

Anonymous said...

I remember going to Hialeah as a kid. Didn't like the area or driving there, but once in the facility, it was fun!

Don't let the sun go down on me!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Hialeah, came across this story and am so saddened this morning...I now live in NC and whenever I'm fortunate enough to return to Hialeah for a visit, my heart breaks at just how little is being done to preserve the natural beauty and historical areas. Hialeah Park holds so many beautiful and nostalgic memories for so many, homecoming dances (I'm a TBred alumni Class of 78), just lovely days there in my memory! It was always the one elegant place in Hialeah that was so magical! If this is torn down, I just can't imagine the loss! Thank you to everyone there holding the fort for Hialeah and fighting for the historical dignity of this grand magical park!
Let me know if there is anything we can do from afar!
United in Hialeah Brotherhood/Sisterhood,
Dawn Womack Huwe

Anonymous said...

ps:

I can be contacted at
dmhuwe@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Oh man! Now where we'll be autocrossing?

Anonymous said...

Well it definitely won't be at the Hialeah Speedway (1954-2006)...thats already gone.

Hialeah Park is the only nationaly significant historical site left in Hialeah. We must add to its history not take away from it...with or without racing.

-Totolochee

Anonymous said...

Is there a possibity that we can try to get enough people together to parade around the park with posters such as "Save our Heritage" and get enough press to get some local and national stories? Also, suggest that letters be sent to Federal elected offficials, all local congresspeople, U. S. Senators, etc.

Claudia Nixon Fauver said...

I was born in Miami and raised in Miami and Hialeah. I'm a proud graduate of Hialeah High (1960) and would hate to see Hialeah Park Race Track disappear. My cousin and her husband (he is also a HHS grad) got married at Hialeah Park Race Track and so did many others that I know. Although I do not live in Miami-Dade County now, I still have family and friends who do. I will pass this information on to them also.

After all, where would our Hialeah T-Breds be without our race track?

Mercy M. said...

It would be sad to see that the city of Hialeah does not recognize the need that we have for natural beauty. The Hialeah Race Track is not only a piece of history we should cherish and protect; it is also a place of tranquilty and natural beauty for all to enjoy. When you entire the park it's like your taken back in time. You are unable to even hear the clatter of the cars going by. I would love to take part in preserving the park for myself, my children and all future generations to enjoy. We have enough Condos to go around it's time to look at what's really important and necessary for our community.

Anonymous said...

The future of Hialeah Race Track makes me cry. I spent many years going on Saturdays to the track to be near the horses. This is a shame to see a Historical Landmark threatened by developers. What will happen to the Statue of Citation, The Widener Fountain and the Miami Jockeys Club? We need to save Florida's History for our children and to the memory of all the famous horses and jockeys that raced there.

Anonymous said...

Brunetti needs to be pressured to sell the Park to Halsey Minor, who will restore it to what it was in its best days. Gulfstream has been ruined, Calder is without character. Let Halsey Minor restore Hialeah. Brunetti needs to go, he is poison.