Monday, April 27, 2015

Miami River: Our History Under Siege. Guest Blog By Ernest Martin

The Historical Library - was Torn Down. No respect for history in the City of Miami.

The City’s Historic and Environmental Board faces a dilemma. A small Historic District on the Miami River is in a peculiar paradox. The City’s new Miami 21 Code, in its Historic Preservation section, aligned itself with several other local municipalities, such as Miami Beach and Coral Gables, in outlawing the practice of allowing protected designated structures to be neglected to the point where these structures show signs of deterioration. The Board established to prevent such action and to prevent these willful owners from demolishing these links to our past, the Miami Historic and Environmental Board, has been getting tough lately. Their own law says a property owner has to have a permit for a proper replacement structure that meets their approval, if they prove that demolition is the last resort.

The City’s Historic and Environmental Board was getting into its enforcement role, when it discovered the latest culprit in the City was the City! 

The Seybold Canal House, dating back to 1915 and the last remaining part of John Seybold’s estate, an early Miami Pioneer. The State of Florida even indicated the building was so significant that it was eligible for nomination to the prestigious National Register of Historic Places. Volunteers from the tiny Historic District of Spring Garden raised enough money to buy it, and gave it over to the City in 2003 to finish the job. The City accepted their gift, but let the building rot in place.

The City let it further deteriorate to the point where it had to be demolished. This made the City both the criminal and the sheriff.

The City’s Historic and Preservation Board will sort through this at City Hall on May 5 at time certain 5 pm. The Board previously approved an acceptable replacement, fitting to commemorate the Seybold family, by the late architect Les Beilinson who died, sadly, before his building could be built.

The City of Miami must comply with the same law that applies to us all--if you own property in an historic district you follow the law.  Chapter 23 of Miami 21 says clearly that a contributing building in a historic district cannot be demolished unless there in an appropriate replacement.

-- Dr. Martin is a resident of Spring Gardens and has been a member of many City Boards since his retirement from the County.


Anonymous said...

Historic preservation deserves respect. Dr Martin has been a tireless advocate.

Anonymous said...

The Bayfront Library could hardly have been considered historic. Was the Seybold Canal House ("Hindu Temple") demolished, or facing threat because of the city's negligence? I never heard about it.

You can't trust the government on these matters anymore. The Seybold mansion is worthy of preservation, either incorporated into an upscale condo development or as a private residence again.

Anonymous said...

That carriage house was never on the land you are stating according to maps and surveys. It was moved much like those structures in Lummus park were moved. Your argument is invalid.

Anonymous said...

We the residents don't what a building when we can't control the drug use & alcohol abouse that happen everyday, let alone to deal with the infrastructure problem with parking for 40 people capacity. This can't be left to the city to manage & impose by civic association

Anonymous said...

Histric society is against imitation or replicas being built.
It should be voted by the owners of Spring Garden, not imposed by a few from the Civic board that has wanted this done with out the support of the neighborhood

Anonymous said...

Find out who moved it & caused its deterioration. Then sold adjecing propety for big profit. A lot more behind what he's saying . Scratch a little & see what you find.

Anonymous said...

This project was conjured up many moons ago from the Commissioner Teele era. This is a detached garage and NOT the Seybold home. I clearly recall Teele and his neighborhood association were successfully and directly awarded a community block grant in excess of $300,000 to restore the garage.

There was and still is a serious problem with how these community grants are awarded. No one should support anything related to such an ill shaded project until old money is accounted for. Wake up Miami! Everyone seems to always have their hand in the cookie jar and this is a perfect example.

To Spring Gardens, stand up and fight this one to protect the moral of your truly historic neighborhood. Someone is lining their pockets heavily on raising this illicit deal from the dead, and I bet that someone might just be your neighbor!

Anonymous said...

A contributing building is not what was there. It was a house that sat on that lot,(Residential) not a public rental meeting building. So please respect the donor of the park & John Seybold's house, a not city building.

Anonymous said...

I loved the Old Library. I used to take the bus from Northwest dade to get there. It was truly a LIBRARY.

Much better use than the crap that is on Bayfront park now.

Anonymous said...

So let's get this straight.. there was $300,000 in grant money that was never used for a restoration that did not happen?
sounds like an investigative reporter should take on the story!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the work done by those involved with historic preservation and also respect the laws in place. Yet, as a home owner and resident of Spring Garden, I do not agree with this structure being rebuilt. The lot was previously zoned single family residential and is at the end of a single family residential street. If the new structure were to be built to replace a home that would be owned and lived in by a family then I understand, but to build a public structure in the middle of our single family residential waterfront historic homes is wrong.

The vast majority of our neighborhood residents do not want this structure rebuilt and would prefer the history be celebrated in a different way. Spring Garden residents want a native butterfly garden dedicated to the pioneers with markers throughout describing the plants and attracted butterflies, and maybe even a small playground too.

I also hope that previous money mentioned above or any future money does not cloud the judgement of those responsible for making the decision that will impact our small historic neighborhood greatly.

Anonymous said...

Untrue statements above. Residents do want the city to honor their deal and produce the building. Many crazy,nonsensical things said in above statements.