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Monday, February 13, 2012

"Empty shops and paper covered windows"



I have been a Grove resident for over 4 years, and have been coming to the Grove since 2006. It’s a complete shame to see the state of the Grove lately. I had family in town recently, and we went to lunch in the Grove (at Sandbar). I have to say, I was completely embarrassed to walk through Cocowalk, and the rest of the Grove, with them. Empty shops, paper covered windows, and no signs of new life. My husband and I are regulars at many of the restaurants/bars around the neighborhood and so, we have a strong relationship with most of the employee’s around town and through them we get “the real deal”. They are all unhappy with the lack of business around here, and you can’t blame them; regardless of all the new places potentially coming into the Grove relatively soon.

My husband and I are former University of Miami students, and now Grovites, and it is a complete shame to look at what the Grove has become. I understand the clientele of people that live in the area, but if you want a thriving area, you have to cater to the crowd. UM students are the big money and they come out, merely only by UM legacy, one night a week (Thursdays). Remember the days of Vision, Flavor, and Quench; when they were the big clubs that everyone came to on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. What’s there now? Empty windows, and the most recent rumor, “boutique” beer joints. That is not what the Grove needs nor will attract anyone. You can get specialty beers anywhere nowadays. Everyone wants business and bringing in these boutiques and specialty beer/wine places are not going to attract people.

Two weeks ago, when the ING Marathon came through the Grove, it took me almost a half an hour to get from our apartment on Mary Street to Milam’s on 32nd Ave. It’s 4 blocks…meaning that a normal 3.5 minute trip took almost ten times that amount. Believe me, I had no complaints…but where were the business owners from around the Grove to promote themselves? There was media coverage, and the sign at 27th Ave and US-1, yet no one was there. The only people out there besides the marathoners were the policemen; who were more than friendly to me (and I’m sure to others who were doing their Sunday errands).

My point being, people in Coconut Grove want business; yet no one wants to put in enough effort. I went to Sunset last weekend, during the day, around 1pm – 6pm (ish). There was not a parking spot to be had, a place at a bar to sit, or walking down any sidewalk without having to move aside for another fellow roamer. What is wrong with the Grove?

On a quick detour, let me tell you a story. I am from Jupiter, FL, only an hour and a half away. When my family and I first moved there, 90% of the town was cow and horse farms. Less than ten years later there is a thriving district of restaurants, bars, and shops. Only a few have gone out over the course of that area’s lifetime, and it puts us to shame. AND, yes, there are college kids (Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach Community College, Nova Southeastern University) but in the same respect there is an older crowd that are frequent visitors throughout the week and weekend. Every one of those places has survived, even with a sound ordinance that is enforced after 2am.

Everyone wants to put their two cents in, and I can understand. But if you want to bring back the old Grove atmosphere, where Coconut Grove is a destination place to be, then something needs to change; whether it be business owners, management, or even the mindset of other Grove residents. It’s not you, or the Grapevine, but I’m so tired of hearing people complain about the Grove when there are so many obvious solutions to the problem. Cater to the older crowd (myself included) during the day, and college students by night.

Hillary Schwantes
Coconut Grove

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sledge said...

"Cater to the older crowd (myself included) during the day, and college students by night."

If you read a previous post here about this, there seems to be a dichotomy of sorts between the "older crowd" and the younger patrons.

Or to be more precise, between a few, influencial "older" neighbors who keep calling the cops if a baby cries after 7pm, and the majority of residents and visitors who who like to bring a vibrant, young Grove back, for everyone, of all ages.

Of course, as usual, the buck stops at City Hall, and their retarded 3am ordinance or shutting down places for playing some music.

Most people find it very easy to go next door, Brickel or S. Beach, where they are allowed to have fun.

CI

February 13, 2012 4:17 PM  
Blogger AB said...

Great letter. Truthiness.

February 17, 2012 11:17 AM  

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