Supporters of the proposed Museum Park Conservancy, including Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and former Mayor Manny Diaz, say they’re off with a bang. They’ve secured at least $7.5 million in pledges from private donors, an amount they say is just the start to a campaign that aims to raise tens of millions more to create an iconic downtown park.
Andres is usually very thorough in his reporting. Anyway, I decided to help him and I found some people with long histories in park preservation that were not all that enthusiastic to the idea of a Conservancy and the fancy plans by politicians to fill up every available space of Bicentennial Park.
|South Side of Park Where Tall Ships Can Dock in the FEC Slip|
|The Park has nice clean bathrooms and people use them.|
Leave well enough alone. Bicentennial Park is a nice park, quiet in a sea of squalor around it. People will find it and love it. Give it time, the dumb Science Museum isn't even finished yet. Everything doesn't have to be filled in to the brim. If not for Mayor Tomas Regalado, all that green and blue in the photo at top would be the Beckham Soccer Stadium. Regalado nixed Mayor Gimenez's idea to fill in the slip for the stadium.
The park is managed now by Bayfront Park Trust and they are doing a great job. It looks very inviting and it is kept clean. You are automatically drawn down to the water by a cavalcade of trees and a wide sidewalk of pavers. When you reach the Bay there are movable chairs and tables so you can eat lunch in the shade. It is quite a nice spot for relaxing, watching the cruise ships and viewing the water. Did I mention they had bathrooms? Rich people go away. You now have a 1/3 of the park for your galas. That is enough for less than 2% of the population.
CLARK KENT SAID:
The park looks great now. It's better to leave well enough alone. For the first time, I actually like a park in the City of Miami and thought the City had done a good thing for the public. The park is not cluttered with crap or commercialism. The open green spaces are so few in downtown Miami, to have this in the heart of the city is an unexpected delight. But of course, this being Miami, anything that is free and good and open is eyed by private for profit special interests for their own enterprise. Let's not let that happen. What a dumb idea to consider tearing up the park to build an underground parking garage - on the Bay - and all this for an upscale restaurant?
|Opening Day of Bicentennial Park|
Bicentennial Park was saved from the Marlin's Stadium by activists like all of us at the Daily Planet Newspaper.
We didn't do it so Concrete Manny and friends could come along and take over the park for ridiculous and expensive "features" like a grand entrance, pavilions and a parking garage and a restaurant(s) catering to the wealthy. We did it for the public to enjoy. In the end, the 2 museums took up one-third of the park but at least we got a nice green space and waterfront park for the public to enjoy. And now they want to take that way.
Of course, this area was also eyed by David Beckham for his retail lined (Bayside-like) soccer stadium. This valuable waterfront land will be eyed by other developers for their own private enterprises. We can't let that happen.
Let them raise money for more shade trees and garden areas, more park benches, for maintenance. And that's all. The public needs to speak up now to claim this park as their own. Did the public ask for a "grand entrance way?" Are they demanding an upscale restaurant? Is there a need for an underground parking garage? I don't think so.
The idea of a conservancy to manage the park is fine in theory - but in Miami, this will be abused. Even when there are deed restrictions and rules, like the Carollo amendment that requires a public referendum before allowing private uses of public waterfront land, we have seen time and time again how the City of Miami gets around these rules. Examples are Watson Island, where there will be hotels and private businesses on public waterfront land. Or Virginia Key, where the City allowed the Miami Marine Stadium, the City is proceeding to spend $20 million of taxpayer money to develop the land around it to create a private event space - the Miami Boat Show - on what should be waterfront parkland.
|Opening Day of the Park|
The excuse that Museum Park needs to be "programmed" to get people to use it is bogus. That's what they told us the Museums were for. Didn't work did it? To see an example of parks that are not programmed but are immensely popular for picnics, walking, biking, people watching, dog walking - go to Margaret Pace or David Kennedy Park. These parks also are severely overcrowded - it shows how much people want and needs parks, without fancy entrance portals or upscale restaurants.
If Manny Diaz and Marc Sarnoff want to propose stuff to do - why don't they don't propose volleyball nets or a small playground? A hot dog vendor would be fine.
If these so-called park advocates want to raise money - they should focus their sights on other urban and neglected parks - like Allappatah and Douglas Parks which have been closed to the public for years because of soil contamination. These parks need to be 'elegant,' too.
Miami is more than Biscayne Boulevard and Bayshore Drive - the residents in other neighborhoods pay taxes, too. Maybe not as much as the hedge fund millionaires buying the $5 million penthouse suites but, so what? Elected officials represent all the people of the City of Miami and serve in the public interest. Right?
|Isn't the waterfront view enough? Do you really need to satisfy a politician's wet dreams?|
JIMMY OLSEN SAID:
Not sure it would be bad for the park. Central Park and Prospect Park have benefited from Conservancies. The key thing is that there be no disadvantage to the general public in terms of full access and use. Donors can have their galas and the public gets a better park. Of course in Miami I do worry.
...There you have it from all of us at the Daily Planet that Andres Viglucci forgot to interview.