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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Where are the younger people?

Some guy wrote a comment on one of the posts about how old the crowd was at The Grove Spot last week for the Stop Grove Bay rally. I really didn't notice that until I saw the comment, but it does say a lot about the future of Coconut Grove. Now that I think about it, no younger Grovites ever partake in Grove events, politics or anything so this guy putting them down needs to thank the older people for taking up causes that effect everyone and their way of life.

I was walking to the Toxic Park meeting at Blanche Park that time and passed one of the younger guys walking his dog. He was coming from that direction, not going toward it. I asked him if he was going to the meeting, he wasn't. He wasn't interested. He lives a few blocks from that park. His dog goes there.

And as I go to various meetings about various events, Bed Race, 4th of July, King Mango Strut, I notice no younger people present.  They aren't even at BID meetings or City Commission meetings. I'm talking about people in their 20s, maybe early 30s, a generation age that used to carry peace signs and fight wars.

I suppose at that age, I wasn't involved in things either, so maybe that is the way it is. I mean I would attend all the Grove events when I was 20 -- the Strut, Bed Race and so on, but I would come with my friends, watch the event and leave, usually to end up in a bar somewhere. I never knew or cared how the sausage was made.

But I just don't see any younger people taking on causes or taking the helm of anything. I invited a few to a Village Council meeting one time and they were never to return. One of the council members actually called out one of the younger people from the dais asking him why he was making faces, when the guy probably just had a tick, and then when there was almost a fist fight between a couple of council members and lots of yelling, that really sealed the deal for the younger people not to return.

The next day one of them told me he couldn't believe how I just sat there taking notes and minding my own business. He said I was so oblivious to that type of behavior that I didn't flinch. He said I didn't realize that that was not the way meetings should be run. Well show us. Don't give up after one meeting, help make the change. Be the change. We need new, and younger, blood.

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31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most younger people don't live in the Grove anymore! It's not cool, hip and happening like it used to be so they don't choose 33133 to live. Also many more young families with children are fleeing the 33133 in droves as well or not looking at the Grove to move anymore. There are no amenities or anything a young family would want either except contaminated parks, the highest taxes in Dade County and lots of crime with almost non existent Police service(sounds very appealing)! Most of us that do live here wish we could move!

October 16, 2013 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Virtually nothing for sale and nothing for rent. I would say this is one of the most desirable and beautiful locations in South Florida to live. How about one of the local realtors jumping in here, and giving the poster above the stats. Also, since he/she is so miserable in the Grove, perhaps you can get a listing at the same time.

October 16, 2013 9:25 AM  
Anonymous James Willoughby said...

I'm a 31 year old Grove homeowner, so I guess I'm still considered young. I am interested in the goings on in the Grove, but have absolutely no interest in getting involved in politics in the Grove, for a few different reasons. The Grove is extremely cliquish, and the old guard doesn't want new blood (and new and different ideas) involved. The Waterfront project is a good example. Look at all the name calling and bickering that is going on. I happen to be in favor of the project. Why would I go to a meeting and be called names, and yelled at by somebody old enough to be my grandfather. You look at people who have spent years working hard to better the Grove, and the moment they have an opinion that differs from the Grove Mafia, they are called names like sellout and treated poorly. Why would somebody sign up for that?

October 16, 2013 9:46 AM  
Blogger Michelle Niemeyer said...

Most of the younger people are single or married, some with young children, struggling to make ends meet and working hard in jobs that don't leave them time for mid-day and 5:30 or 6:00 meetings.

You ignore what's right in front of you, though, Tom. Jessica Lewis, the current Chairperson of the Coconut Grove Village Council, is one of those younger people.

The fact is you attend meetings full of people who share the same views and are mostly self-employed or retired and don't have kids. That gives a lot more free time. It's also a tiny minority of the people who live in the Grove.

Finally, everything 9:46 said is dead on.

October 16, 2013 10:24 AM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

hahaha. I am in fact the "younger guy walking my dog" in the story. I am involved in a ton of civic activities around dade county, run a non-profit foundation that promotes entrepreneurship and technology education in Miami, and have lived in coconut grove for the last 8 years. I was actually on my way to a meeting for the beacon council to discuss how to attract companies to setup in Miami, something that I felt was a better use of my time than being present at the dog park meeting.

I am also the same young guy who was horrified by the village council meeting in the story.

Here is what I see as at least part of the issue at hand here. I'm 31, but won't be living in Coconut Grove much longer. The neighborhood has priced itself out of the reach of most of the younger generations. The grove has failed to adapt to changes in the market the way other neighborhoods have, and as such has seen a decline in popularity. I still love the foliage and the fact we have a dog park, but I dislike the stagnancy of the area. Young people have no voice in the community. The older generation of homeowners, business owners, and investors' interests are inherently diametrically opposed to the interests of the youth.

3 years ago I tried very hard to bring tech startups to the grove, none of the landlords wanted to accommodate them, so all those companies went to wynwood/midtown. Many of those same landlords properties are still sitting there empty 3 years later.

I could go on, and I probably will on my own blog, this is enough for a comment.

October 16, 2013 10:35 AM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

Additionally, the village council has no decisive authority, so what is the point of spinning one's wheels and spending time on it. They can make resolutions ad-infinitum, but none have any affect on our neighborhoods.

October 16, 2013 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Brian Breslin for backing up my first comment on this post! Michelle Niemeyer you also left the Grove and moved to Brickell, I recall you saying? So what are you talking about? Again 33133 has nothing to offer except the highest taxes, no amenities for residents or children and contaminated parks. I am sure everyone wants to move near Blanche or Merrie Xmas as we write these comments!

October 16, 2013 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's because the meetings are largely ineffectual, no one attending them or running them has any interest in new ideas, and the meetings are held when people with regular jobs, requiring work at regular hours are at work.

October 16, 2013 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well like ive said before i left the grove and moved to west kendall and have never looked back.i only follow this blog because i still own property there.the place is full of crime and has become so boring i find myself begging mu tenants to give it a chance.parking should be free yet it gets higher and more difficult every year.the artsy fartsy stuff has gotten old.the grove needs the big clubs back.i am happy to see duffys there but if theres not other new stuff comming and fast it will die also.west kendall like brikell and miami lakes and even hialeah are making progree yet the grove in getting worse.sad but true.im in my early 30's and found the grove full of old people making it a horrible place to live.and i know you know what i mean by the stories you have shared like people telling you to shut up at a bar or a coffee shop etc

October 16, 2013 1:52 PM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

I was thinking of the events like the King Mango Strut, who is going to take that over as people age?

Jessica does an amazing job at the Village Council, we need more of that.

We have tons of schools in the Grove, I am assuming these kids who are 5, 6 7, 8 and 9 have young parents. That's who I refer to.

To say we don't have young people in the Grove is crazy, just look around, they are in the bars, restaurants, gyms, etc. They just aren't on committees and civic groups. That's all.

October 16, 2013 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very off putting when older Grovites are constantly trying to crack one liners as though they are Johnny Carson. I suppose it is their way of testing their virility. I have a theory that Viagra has changed the balance of nature for the worse. What happened to the days when you could go to grand ma and grand pa for comfort and wisdom? These folks are destroying the rocking chair industry.

October 16, 2013 1:57 PM  
Blogger Michelle Niemeyer said...

"Michelle Niemeyer you also left the Grove and moved to Brickell, I recall you saying?"

Just to clarify: I have lived in the Grove since 1997 and still do. I have never told anyone I moved to Brickell. I did take a job in April and work on Flagler now, after 10 years of having my office in the Grove.

It's amazing the lies people will plant in blogs, hiding behind anonymity. Or, if not lies, perhaps the poster is has a hearing problem? I guess we'll never know since it comes from the gutless Anonymi. Wow!

October 16, 2013 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that was a rough response, Michelle. Maybe he just misunderstood when you said you moved your office out of the Grove.
That's just my opinion.
my name is Cindy. Or maybe it's Janet. Does it matter?
My opinion is still mine and is valid as my opinion.

But getting back to the original question about young people, maybe many of us want to see many of the changes that the 'older Grovites' are against.
As Tom said, we are in the bars, restaurants and gyms. And would like to see a new fresh business take over what I see as an old decrepit Scotty's Landing area. I don't have any emotional old-time memories of the ways things used to be.

October 16, 2013 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 31 years old and have lived in the Grove for just about 5 years now. I agree with many of the posters below. I am currently pregnant and cannot afford to purchase a home in 33133 area code so plan on searching in South Miami.

I have loved the past 5 years but the majority of my friends have left due to the high costs of housing (who wants to pay $500K for a 2 bedroom with no land when you can pay $300K in So Miami and get a huge yard and a 3/2?) and the crime. I would go to more events if (a) they were later in the day and (b) I thought my opinion mattered.

I am for the waterfront project. I see potential for the Grove to be what it was 5, 6, maybe 7 years ago and this is a good start.

October 16, 2013 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the guy who wrote about the crowd being older at the rally. It was an observation that struck me as funny at the time, but wasn't intended to make fun of the baby boomers. I grew up on a farm and the one think you learn is respect for your elders. I think that is because I watched them earn it. The only person who could ever out work my father was my grandfather.
To your point that the younger people aren't getting involved, I believe is due to a couple of factors. The first being that when the younger people take up a banner it's for a CHANGE. Whether it be for civil rights, anti-war or the occupy movement they want change for the better of everyone. That's not what the feeling is here. This feels like the older Grovites telling everyone what is best for them. There is no discussion or give and take, we are being told what is best for us and don't dare to have a different thought. That's not attracting the young activist. Second would be the absolute lack of anything that really matters. Yes, they will replace the existing restaurants with new ones and put up a parking garage. If that is the sum total of what is wrong in your world, then you really need to get out more. I mean this is what you want the young people to rally around? Where are the displaced minorities, the ravaging of local resources the trampling of our civil rights. This is the definition of what my friends call 'white guy problems'.
Other posters are absolutely correct about the Village Counsel being a non-important entity. I did go to several meetings thoughout the years, but they turned me off on any participation. The overall political bickering here is just a joke. The name calling, throwing unsubstantiated innuendos and outright lies makes us look small and childish.
I've lived in the Grove for 13 years and love it for alot of reasons. I love being able to walk to the parks with my son and dogs, I love knowing the people in the restaurants and seeing friends as I walk down the street. But what I don't love is the people who can't see past a single issue to enjoy the sum total of what we have.
Calvin

October 16, 2013 3:12 PM  
Anonymous gail beckham said...

I am going to speak out for young people, as my daughter, Lucy is one who runs trivia on Tuesday evening at Barracudas in support of the Woody Foundation. She has been running this event for at least three years and honestly it is basically young people who support this evening. When I have been at trivia Tuesday I have met young professionals from Brickell, Kendall, Coral Gables and a handful from the Grove. there is lots to offer in the Grove for all age people, I just wonder if there is so much going on in Miami Dade, that no one has the time to support everything. I am sure Lucy contacted Coconut Grove grapevine to get support for the Woody Foundation free concert that was held on 21Sept, where well over 1000 were in attended and I am sure she has asked for all to come to Barracudas on Tuesday evening at 730p....So hopefully the town is able to support the next Woody Foundations event ... Lobster Bake at Shake a Leg 8 Nov...all ages are agin invited in hopes this announcement will make it to the Coconut Grove grapevine...Thanks ...gail beckham

October 16, 2013 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Brant H. said...

I'm approaching my 50th and I've lived in the Grove for 16 years, so I don't really qualify as "young." However, I agree with everything Michelle and 9:46 said.

Attending any sort of political event in the Grove - and that includes the King Mango Strut - reminds me of William F. Buckley, Jr.'s famous line: “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

October 16, 2013 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Thanks for bringing this up Tom. While I won't try and address the "bigger" reason why younger people aren't as involved in the Grove events as the older crowd, I'm happy to offer a specific example and my thoughts.

I'm a young person (27) who recently moved to the Grove and have been trying to get involved as much as possible. The example I can provide is the Grove Bay Project. If you want the younger generation to get involved, you need to speak to them on their level and in their medium aka Social Media. The Grapevine has done a great job at growing its Facebook and Twitter community but your site alone can't carry the responsibility as the only page communicating this issue in the social space.

While a Facebook page has been opened for the Stop Grove Bay campaign it is essentially inactive. I have volunteered via the website to distribute flyers and also support via social media. I was contacted by a volunteer who was going to provide me with printed out flyers...but I don't function in that world. Give me 1 digital flyer and I can spread the word to hundreds, even thousands!

All that to say: If you want the young people to get involved = speak to them where they are. Rally for their support by asking for RTs and Shares...not by asking them to pass out flyers or sit through community meetings. Well, you can ask us- but please also provide us with the digital version of the flyer and a link to the live stream of the meeting :)

October 16, 2013 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Rod Alvarez said...

I think younger people needed something more than Coconut Grove have opened these days. But I think this is still an ideal place for some people.

October 16, 2013 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You raise an important issue. Who will take up the fight to preserve the Grove in future years? Other posters make some good points, namely that the Grove is becoming too expensive a neighborhood for young people to buy into (unless they're wealthy), and that young people aren't necessarily enamoured of the 1960s style of protest and activism. That doesn't mean they don't get involved. But it does mean that some of the 60s rhetoric may strike them as extremist or just quaint. Incidentally, comments about the old guard excluding newcomers may have some truth to it. I know Inman Park, a gorgeous historic neighborhood in Atlanta, has experienced this same problem. The Inman Park Neighborhood Association is run by people who had a lot of success in the 1980s, blocking a major highway being built there. But they don't want to hear from young people and/or renters in the neighborhood. Plus, their rhetoric on issues becomes extreme to the point of absurdity. Young people figure, what's the point of trying to make our voices heard when the organizers obviously don't care? If you want to attract young residents, you'll need to invite them to speak. And then listen to what they have to say. Cheers, Laura A.

October 16, 2013 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do young people not care? Because we look at a bunch of pompous idiots that think they rule this town and just laugh.

October 16, 2013 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People keep complaining how the Grove is dead, and about how fun it was 20, 30, 50 years ago. Having been at tonight's Center Grove meeting, I have to ask myself, what business organization, with millions to invest, wants to deal with the hysteria of the older guard who can't abide by a single tree being replaced?

October 16, 2013 10:59 PM  
Blogger Rafael Gutierrez said...

last night I run into a neighbor who is in his early 30's,an attorney...he put it in simple terms why young residents in Coconut Grove won't get involved...too busy with business networking, young married couples with children extremely busy trying to balance family and work, and lastly they have established "roots" in the Coconut Grove...most are here temporarily next home will be where their career takes them. Miami doesn't offer long career jobs. It is why I put together the "my center grove" so that these young residents can business network while having a conversation on local issues like safety and cleanliness!

October 17, 2013 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Deborah Crisp said...

I am a board member of King Mango Strut. For the past three years we have been encouraging young people to get involved. We need fresh minds, new ideas, and people with energy. We especially need more people to form groups and parody something in the parade. To all younger people, in and out of the Grove, PLEASE attend our next Mangohead meeting, on Tues., Oct. 29, 7:00 p.m.at The Grove Spot. Our meetings ARE at a time that accommodates busy schedules. Also, we are seeking candidates for a vacant board position. If you're interested, please e-mail me at ddcrisp@msn.com. Hope to see you 20 and 30-somethings on the 29th.

October 17, 2013 8:42 AM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

I find myself rarely hanging out in bars in the grove, if I go out, I end up going to other neighborhoods that have more interesting drinks, or music, or younger crowds.

Can we bring back the pedestrian night on commodore ave? Younger families loved that.

If the dog park and the playground next to it at blanche had closed, i suspect lots of renters in the immediate neighborhood would have left.

October 17, 2013 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see young people packing the dog park, Sandbar and Duffy's all the time

October 17, 2013 9:25 AM  
Blogger John Holcombe said...

As a younger man I did get involved, getting elected to and serving on the Village Council for 3 years. That was my first, and last, foray into local politics. The Grove was and continues to be extremely cliquish, everyone had a hidden, personal agenda, and I grew tired of the hysterical, knee-jerk style of protest carried on by a handful of self-proclaimed "saviors" of Coconut Grove. There will be no change in the Grove until people accept change. The reason the Grove is dying is because it's community "leaders" have sent out a clear message that they will not accept any change, under any terms.

October 17, 2013 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was heading north on Bayshore. Approaching Fresh Market, when I saw the flashing lights of the crosswalk. I was pleased to see cars slowing down, and not even honking horns. I expected to see a pedestrian, Mom with a stroller, nanny with a stroller, pet owner walking the dog or dog walker with several dogs. Much to my surprise I saw a senior citizen on a bike, but not a Road Bike, Mt. Bike, Fixie or even a Cruiser. I was flabbergasted to see this white haired and white bearded pensioner riding a three wheeled Trike Bike. Reminded me of Century Village. I bet he doesn’t care much for changes in the Grove either, unless there are plans for a Cracker Barrel to replace Scotty’s Landing.

October 17, 2013 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in my late 30's (on the cusp of not being "young" anymore?) and as a mother, find the Grove a great place to be for our small family. We lucked out with a nicely priced rental and were really close to looking at other neighborhoods because of the high prices for housing here. We like that we can walk to everything, love our library (and awesome librarian in the kids section), like that we know quite a few families with young kids here, enjoy the kid friendly restaurants around, etc. However, I do wish there was something like a nice recreation center with a pool (did no one propose that for the Scotty's location?), more education on pedestrian/biking safety for drivers like in other major cities, and a Coconut Grove listserve broken into regions of the Grove so we can organize block parties, report lost dogs, street closures, etc. (my old neighborhood in California did this and it was awesome).

I'm blabbing here to say I have all kinds of ideas as a "young" person here in the Grove but am just not sure how to get involved. Sometimes meetings are scheduled around 7 pm. That's called the witching hour in parent lingo. How about 9:30 pm later meeting hour(with lots of wine) after the kiddos are sleep. At least for those who have a partner, can keep one on kid duty and the other can go to a meeting. Bet you'll get more input from youngish family members. And look at how many comments you got here from this post-lots of interest so perhaps an online discussion board (not facebook-bleh) would work well to start garnering more young interest. We're here.

October 17, 2013 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Older" folks get involved in the Grove more because they have been around enough to learn and care. The younger ones haven't been exposed to the issues in the Grove, or been informed enough to want to participate. Back in the dray, we had the Coconut Grove Times delivered free to our homes, bearing all sorts of information about the goings on, and the issues before us that begged for participation. Nowadays, Groveites are simply uninformed. And the Miami Herald doesn't care about the Grove enough to write about it.
It's not an age thing - it's an informational void.

October 19, 2013 10:15 AM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

I'll take that as a slap in the face for what I do. Thank you.

Guess all those UM students that tell me they read me daily are BSing me.

We actually have more readers than Neighbors. You're welcome.

October 19, 2013 10:24 AM  

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