Hundreds came out in support of Grove Playhouse
It was estimated that 500 people showed up late Monday afternoon for the "Give It Back" rally, in support of the Coconut Grove Playhouse. After six years of being shuttered, the villagers of Coconut Grove feel that enough is enough and they demand that the Playhouse reopen in some way, shape or form. Local politicians, actor, Andy Garcia and so many neighbors showed up in support of the campaign.
A large yellow ribbon came out at the end of the rally and the playhouse was literally wrapped in the yellow. Cheerleaders from a local school lead the hundreds in cheers and children did their part, for instance, brothers Lucas and Marcus Perra, sang "God Bless America," on the temporary stage set up in the back parking lot of the Playhouse.
Nathan Kurland, leader of the crusade, spoke and then emceed the few speakers who spoke for a few minutes each.
Miami historian, Arva Moore Parks spoke on the behalf of the playhouse through the history that she knows. She spoke of various people who were there at the beginning. One, named Estelle Overstreet, a Grove pioneer, born in 1909, claims that fresh water sand was used to build the old 1927 building and apparently fresh water sand is very sound. In Arva's words, the building is "salvageable." She said, "The theater needs to be restored, the theater needs to be opened. Give it back!"
David Collins, BID director said that right after the Playhouse closed, 11 restaurants in the area, closed right away, and some in the audience snickered and said coincidentally, the 3 am bar closing time came into affect, too. But no matter, you can't deny that the Playhouse as a large economic engine for the Grove. In fact, yesterday's rally was proof. Right after the rally, all the restaurants and bars in the vacinity were mobbed with people from the rally having dinner and drinks (I had the lobster at Calamari). So the economic engine was thriving last night due to the Playhouse.
Earlier in the day, a letter went out by Clay Smallwood, Director of Division of State Lands, requesting that County Mayor Carlos Giminez turn over the Playhouse to the Board of Trustees. More on that later. In the meantime, the partying went on into the night. The big yellow ribbon first was marched down toward Greenstreets at Main Highway and Commodore Plaza, the crowd turned up Commodore and went around the block, back into the Playhouse parking lot to end the rally.
Lots more pictures of today's events here on Facebook.
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