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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Reclaiming Peacock Park

The following was left as a comment to the letter to the editor by the Grove grandmother below. I think it should be seen here so everyone can read it.

Over the past few years, every time I contacted Commissioner Sarnoff's office to ask about the park, I was basically told to shut up and mind my own business. I was told that is was ok for St. Stephen's to lock up the playing fields and basically own them. I was told that it was ok that there was no park attendant and that even though our tax dollars were paying for this park, it was ok that it was a private park now. I was always made out to be wrong or mistaken in my thinking, even though many residents contacted me to ask me about it. I don't know of one person who thinks that selling off the park to the school is a good idea. This locked gate is what most citizens are faced with on a daily basis.

I think the time has come to reclaim the park and everything else that is wrong around here because of greedy, selfish, calculated policies of the past. The sell out of the park is explained in this Miami Herald article from 2012.

This item below came in anonymously, so unfortunately, I can't give credit to the person who wrote it:


The locked, gated soccer field in the public Peacock Park is the result of a deal that Marc Sarnoff orchestrated between Saint Stephen's and the City of Miami.

There is a group called the "Friends of Peacock Park" that acts as stewards of the park. The group is led by David Villano and Glen Terry. David Villano is also a Saint Stephen's parent, Board Member and a soccer coach.

The Friends of Peacock Park were very pro-active in moving the popular Coconut Grove Roller Hockey Team (the Tasmanian Devils), a youth hockey team comprised of many African-American boys from the West Grove, out of the exact same area of the park and over to another, less desirable park further away.

When the same section of Peacock Park was then occupied by a very popular skateboard park (free and always accessible to the public) the Friends of Peacock park rallied to shut it down.

That is when the Saint Stephen's Board of Director's Pastor Willie Allen Faiella, and Marc Sarnoff teamed up to orchestrate an illegal deal to take over the very same section of the public park for the sole use of Saint Stephen's Episcopal Day School as a private, gated and locked soccer field.

Saint Stephen's renovated the area to suit their specific needs and the area of public park remains gated and locked at all times.

Developer Jorge Perez, whose son attends Saint Stephen's and plays soccer on the now private soccer field in the public park, helped fund the renovations and is the schools biggest donor.

This is 100% illegal, however Saint Stephen's will continue to get away with this crime until they are challenged in a court of law.

There are several precedents for a case such as this, like this one in NYC that was easily won in court by a group of committed neighbors.


Whom amongst us will organize our group of committed neighbors and take back our public park?

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Blogger J. Kay said...

I can't stand St. Stephen's and those gates. But I'm happy that Glass and Vine is coming to the Glass House building. I guess I'm a hypocrite and that's fine, but one makes the park worse and the other makes it better.

The courts are often locked and are in worse condition than before the illegal deal took place. The school, despite having exclusive use of the court and the field, do absolutely nothing to maintain them. I have paid for and changed more basketball hoop nets than the school has over the past few years. The school's exclusive use and failure to unlock the park even when it's not in use is illegal and just complete BS.

Also, those kids and their parents are snobs.

January 28, 2016 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fight that the newly elected commissioner should take up.

January 28, 2016 11:19 AM  
Blogger Kristi Stout said...

If Ken Russell based his campaign on park contamination cleanup, I would hope he takes it upon himself to take back Peacock Park as well!

January 28, 2016 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting if true about David Villano. Especially if you look back in the Grapevine, he was a huge advocate against the grove bay plan, with a video even displayed on your blog. In the video he decries the shady backroom dealings of Miami, and the lack of access to the public. Which if these allegations about peacock park are true, do not reflect well. But I will withhold judgement and allow Mr. Villano a response. Tom have you tried to reach out to him?

January 28, 2016 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, please!

Don't you folks realize that the children of St. Stephen's are the future prince and princes of Atlantis, Ransom's future graduates and upcoming students of Stanford, Harvard, Chicago and for the sexually uncertain, Yale? These are the little ones who will own basketball teams and soccer stadia and work for Goldman and the like. Why deny them the right to learn how to take what belongs to the public at a young age?

And David Villano was successful in taking the park solely because he was late to the game. But for dumb luck Marc and Teresa would have opted to live at the Sonesta rather than Virginia Street. Had that happened, Peacock Park would have long ago been given over to the dogs.

January 28, 2016 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Ken still read this? He was quite quick with a reply just a few months ago. What has changes since October?

January 28, 2016 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Ken is busy with real work?

January 28, 2016 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Eva said...

And how about the other half is being taken over by "glass and Vine?" More fences and gates... Is it just me or are they putting a parking lot INSIDE the park for the restaurant?

January 28, 2016 6:31 PM  
Blogger Coconut Grove for Obama said...

Wow. I wonder if the commenter (obviously also the original poster about the issue) would feel free to speak so venomously about elementary school children if s/he weren't posting anonymously. Community accountability is a civilizing influence and clearly lacking here.

January 28, 2016 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are giving Ken too much credit. He's not Superman. It took two terms for Mr. Sarnoff to muck up the Grove...you're only going to give him two MONTHS to undo ALL of that? Please have patience people!!

January 29, 2016 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coconut Grove for Obama, Hello, No, no decent person; rather only an ignorant person speaks badly or children in general, possibly because they had a very bad childhood. This blog is about opening a gate so all children can enjoy this area of the park and the anon you speak of opposes this extremely simple uncomplicated concept. Jesus was quoted as stating "what's 1st is last and whats last is 1st". I guess during his time he was referring to the money tables vs. the chief child care giver, the Mother and her children. I once wondered why I should be paying school taxes when my youngest of 5 children was 43 until I read "Who's going to work and pay taxes to pay for your SS!? If all children, everywhere were given love and opportunity, even what's behind that locked gate would help and the world would be more just. Jobie Steppe

January 30, 2016 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken Russel should post a list of the top 10 items on his work agenda. Publicly. As a Representative, a Servant for the tax payers who pay handsomely for his salary, he owes it to them.

I'd like to see what takes Ken Russel's day. District 2 is large, but what are the top 10 issues? We are entitled to know. Parks should be among the top priorities. You can be sure a lot of time is wasted by all commissioners on bureaucracy, useless meeting with special interests, lobbyists and developers, and chatting about frivolous, minor issues. If you don't believe me, just stop by more often by City Hall, and see for yourselves. They spend HOURS discussing individual Zoning tiny claims. Days and weeks on stupid, daily stuff that a bunch of low-pay, lower level clerks should be handling.

Where's your list of Priorities, Mr Russel? Please inform us, we are your Employers, remember?

January 30, 2016 10:04 AM  

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