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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bringing more public parks to South Grove

Big Hill Park was one of the winners in this year's Public Space Challenge, put on by the Miami Foundation. This is the proposal to turn the end of Royal Road, which is on the bay, into a park and cleaned-up green area, where people can hang out, picnic, fish, and just enjoy the waterfront. Right now it's a run-down trash strewn, graffiti-filled dead end.

"The Miami Foundation announced the winners of this year's Public Space Challenge. Grove 2030's Big Hill Park proposal was selected as one of 21 winners from among 440 entries. They will help fund the conversion of the right of way into a waterfront pocket park," said David Villano of Grove 2030.


An idea that Grove2030 also had is the 0pening up of Plaza Street in the South Grove which was part of the Public Space Challenge a year ago. The idea did not win. And since then was dropped because not all neighbors were happy with the thought of giving up land in their neighborhood for the park space.  The dense little forest called Charlie's Woods is a section of this Plaza Street Park idea.

"Both of these initiatives are part of Grove 2030's efforts to achieve our strategic goal:  By 2030 every Coconut Grove resident will live within a quarter-mile walk of a publicly accessible park, green space or designated open space. Converting rights of ways into pocket parks are one way to make it happen," said David.

Grove 2030's idea is this regarding the Plaza Street park area:

In 1911 a 3-acre swath of the Cocoanut Grove Park subdivision in south Coconut Grove was deeded to the city. Plat maps show the plans: a 4-block right-of-way consisting of a central “plaza” adjoined by streets, parks and public spaces “dedicated to the perpetual use of the public.” A century later the aptly named Plaza Street is in place but the donors’ dream of a broad, public gathering space remains unfulfilled. Our group would transform the vacant lots on the larger section of gifted land - the four corners of Plaza Street and Palmetto Avenue - into a passive park and public gathering space. We envision a simple, environmentally sensitive introduction of basic amenities – an historical marker, bike racks and picnic benches on each of the 4 lots.

SO THAT PEOPLE COULD...
Be one step closer to this goal: By 2030 every Coconut Grove resident will live within a quarter-mile walk of a publicly-accessible park, green space or designated open space. This goal, set last year by the volunteer civic organization Grove 2030, poses the greatest challenge in south Coconut Grove, which has fewer parks and less public green space than any other Grove neighborhood. Activating the Plaza Street lots for public use will bring an estimated 1,000 additional homes within the quarter-mile distance we are targeting, moving us significantly closer to our goal. The Plaza Street right-of-way is a public asset too valuable to ignore. It’s time we fulfilled the century-old wishes of the men who gave this land, in perpetuity, for public use.

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