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The only place for Coconut Grove, FL News, Views & Opinions - Sunlight is the best disinfectant

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

You can't have anything nice

So the Bird scooters are now on flatbed trucks, lead by a band of police, headed off into the sunset. They were taken off the Grove streets as of 1 pm today.

Police Commander Jorge Colina told me that the scooters are currently not allowed under city law and that a new ordinance needs to be passed so that they are allowed in the future.

The scooters apparently were not sanctioned by the City of Miami and police were concerned about their safety. I know that one day when the scooters started appearing a couple of weeks ago, the police came by and were puzzled by them. They didn't know anything about them. They questioned the BID office, but they didn't have a clue about them either.


Al Crespo wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, "While these companies have failed to get permission to invade Miami's streets with their scooters, LimeBike did go out and hire Michael Llorente, the former Chief of Staff to then City Commissioner Francis Suarez, and partner with the Mayor's perennial campaign manager Jesse Manzano, as their lobbyist.


The City of Miami Police asked that the scooters be removed from the streets last week. Lime Bike complied, Bird scooters did not and so they were picked up by police today, via a towing company with flatbed trucks and the police accompanied them to wherever they hold scooters hostage these days.

Crespo says: "These electric scooters are illegal, as per Florida Statute 316.003(77), and contrary to whoever told you that the company 'work(s) closely with the city,' has misled you."

I don't remember saying that they worked closely with the city. But as of now we can see they are not part of our landscape, which is a shame.

The Grove is being reshaped - new, young office workers can be seen here more and more each day. These office workers loved the scooters as far as I could see. I know in San Francisco the biggest complaint was people leaving them just anywhere when they were finished using them. People would be so upset they would end up throwing them in the bay! That didn't happen here, as far as I could see most people enjoyed them. Our village is sort of made for them.


Natalia Vanegas, Public Affairs Manager at Commissioner Ken Russell's office says, "The scooters are not legal to ride on the streets or the sidewalks unless the city has an ordinance permitting it, which it does not yet. Several scooter sharing companies were sent cease and desist letters by the City last week indicating that they would need to remove the scooters, as they are illegal to ride. The Commissioner is a big supporter of last mile options and transit solutions. And I believe the city will be working on some policy resolutions so this type of transportation becomes legal."

I loved them. The Grove has been so gloomy these past few years with all the construction, parking issues and street closures. I thought the scooters added so much energy and life to the village. 


RELATED STORIES:
The Bird is the Word
Scooting around town


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Herald editor to address rotary luncheon

Rick Hirsch
Rick Hirsch, Managing editor of The Miami Herald, is this week's guest speaker at the Coconut Grove Rotary Luncheon, which is Thursday, June 21.

Rick, who has worked at The Herald for 38 years, is responsible for day-to-day oversight of The Herald’s digital and print news content. He played a key role in the news organization’s shift into digital news and video, as well as the launch of its collaboration with WLRN-91.3 FM that is known as the WLRN-Miami Herald News. He also supervises newsroom training and recruiting.

Prior to diving into digital journalism in 2003, Rick served in a variety of editing and reporting roles, including managing editor of the newspaper’s Broward County edition, and city editor. In Miami, he has supervised The Herald’s coverage of local government, public and private schools. He played a key role in five of the Herald’s 22 Pulitzer prizes, including the Gold Medal for Public Service. As a reporter, he specialized in government, politics and urban affairs reporting.

He is past president of the Florida Society of News Editors, a member of the Florida International University Student Media Board, past chair of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism Advisory Council, and a University of Florida alumnus of distinction. He’s an organizer of South Florida’s Online News Association group.

The Rotary Club of Coconut Grove meets every Thursday at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, 2990 South Bayshore Drive at 12:30 pm. The cost of the meeting is $25 with lunch or $10 without lunch. 

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Team Paradise Summer Camp Sailing Excursion

The Sonar, courtesy Team Paradise
Team Paradise Sailing is excited to invite 60 young citizens from Urban Promise Miami to experience a Summer Camp Sailing Excursion on Biscayne Bay this Friday, June 22. This program is part of the US Sailing Center’s initiative to increase their community involvement as recently mandated by the City of Miami.
  
Urban Promise Miami’s mission is to serve at-risk families by providing space to dream, grow and become leaders in their communities.  

Team Paradise Sailing, Inc., is a charity that uses sailing to challenge and change children and young people’s lives, and we are welcoming this group of Miami’s inner-city children and young adults to give them the opportunity to experience a day on beautiful Biscayne Bay and learn about the sport of sailing.

The US Sailing Center is a Florida Nonprofit Corporation. Since its inception, the US Sailing Center has enjoyed a strong and productive relationship with the City of Miami for the benefit of its citizens. In conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Department, the Sailing Center has provided summer programs for inner-city youth, boat storage as well as launching and hauling at a nominal fee, and public access to the waterfront of Biscayne Bay.

The Urban Promise Miami/Team Paradise Sailing Summer Camp Sailing Excursion will take place from 10 am to 2 pm at the US Sailing Center, 2476 S. Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove.

For additional information contact info@teamparadise.org or visit www.teamparadise.org

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Regarding the scooters

Woops, I was called out by Al Crespo today in his blog. He says I was blocking his comments here in the Grapevine, but I wasn't. I noticed this morning that there were about 100 comments on various stories that were stuck in the system, so if you commented on things and they didn't appear, that is why. Sorry about that, I cleared them all out and they are all posted now. There seems to be a glitch in the system since May 25; it's being worked on.

Anyway, here are Al's comments, which I asked him to email me, they are also under the stories where he originally comment on them:

Tom,

These electric scooters are illegal, as per Florida Statute 316.003(77), and contrary to whoever told you that the company "work(s) closely with the city," has misled you.

In fact there is a meeting being held today at City Hall about these electric scooters, because the police consider them a real hazard, on top of the fact that they are illegal.

I wrote a story detailing all of this yesterday, and I would urge you and your readers to read it, and the linkage to the Florida Highway Patrol Fact Sheet that includes these scooters.

You're aware that the photo of the guy on the scooter represents an illegal use of this scooter on a public streets, aren't you?

Al Crespo
Miami

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Your support is needed at this week's NCD meeting

This nonsense must be stopped.

The City of Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB) meeting is Wednesday, June 20 at 6:30 pm at City Hall (3500 Pan American Drive). The proposed update to the Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) regulations will be heard and approved at this meeting. A large turnout of residents is needed to ensure that our voices are heard above developers.

This update addresses many of the communities concerns while still promoting sensible development that is more in character (scale-wise at least) with the Grove It still allows fairly large and marketable new houses but will help curtail the small percentage of the worst over-builders.

The whole point of the updated NCD is to curtail over-size development which are taking up a large majority of a lot size. Also, protection of the tree canopy is a major issue.

Splitting of single-family lots has hurt the neighborhood, changing the whole character of the Grove. Most neighbors are not against new homes or new development, but they would like some rules to apply that keep the Grove intact. 

The latest NCD resolution, dated June 8, 2018, may be seen here.

Related stores to the NCD issue are here.

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If you love coffee, you're in luck!

Fireman Derek's Pie Shop, coming to the Grove soon.

There was a time in the Grove when there were so many places selling pizza. Not necessarily pizza places but so many restaurants had pizza ovens including the restaurant Spartico in the Mayfair Hotel lobby and Focaccia, there was also Mi Pi  at CocoWalk, NY Roma Pizza (which by the way is set to reopen in six months at their renovated space on McFarlane Road) Boardwalk Pizza and Bertoni Brick Oven Pizza, which was my favorite location in the Grove for pizza. You would walk down a back alley to find a special world at the end. And the list went on and on, there were so many pizza places. Along with them there was pizza served almost everywhere.

Now it's coffees turn. (Be prepared, there are a lot of links in this story).


Fireman Derek's Pie Shop in Wynwood

I was at Fireman Derek's Pie Shop the other day in Wynwood. The reason I bring them up is that they are coming to the Grove. Now this is something special, the pies are so rich, I don't think you can eat them every day. On Thursday, we had a green mint chocolate chip cheesecake along with Mocha Latte's, which were the best Mocha Latte's that I've had in a long time. But back to the pie - you could pierce a slice with a fork and hold it up like a lollipop, it was that thick and rich. 

Fireman Derek's is about two firefighters, Derek Kaplan and his benefactor Patrick Murdock. Patrick would always brag to his wife Kim about the incredible pies Derek would make. Patrick passed away suddenly at age 45 and left an insurance policy for his family. Kim knew what to do with that and she promptly invested in Derek and Fireman Derek's Pie Shop was born.

What's interesting about the whole thing is that it's a sort of home-coming for Kim. When she was 21, she bought Hattie's Place and turned it into Tavern in the Grove! And now the Grove location is sort of catty corner to Tavern at 3435 Main Highway, next to BoHo restaurant. I love it when a plan all comes together.

It will be another two months before they are open and ready for business in the Grove.

You can see just some of the pies offered at Fireman Derek's here: https://firemandereks.com/

Along with Fireman Derek's opening, there will be Blue Bottle Coffee which is opening at 3034 Grand Avenue, the former Johnny Rockets location. There was talk on and off for quite awhile now but now it is official. Blue Bottle was born in Oakland, California. Their vow is to only sell roasted coffee that is 48 hours old or less. They feel that is where you get the peak flavor. They promise to use only the most delicious, and responsibly sourced beans. Unfortunately, the wait for Blue Bottle will be six months or more.  

Across from Blue Bottle will be the "new" Starbucks, which is supposed to take up home at the corner of McFarlane, Grand and Main Highway this summer, they will be there while CocoWalk is renovating and then they will return to CocoWalk. 

Across from there is Panther Coffee and next door is the new Books & Books, which will eventually sell coffee. 

Across from them is the new Bookstore & Kitchen, which sells pies and coffee and around the corner on Commodore Plaza is the new Present bakery and coffee shop.

In between there are many places to sit and have coffee and desert - Le Pain Quotidien, GreenStreet and all of the other restaurants up and down the streets.

So if you love coffee (and pie), you are in luck!


Goodies at Fireman Derek's Pie Shop

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Most Village Council meetings changing to Mondays

The Coconut Grove Village Council has new meeting dates—next meeting, Monday, June 18, 6:30 pm. The Council agrees with all who have said Friday evenings are not a great time for Village Council meetings and is doing something about it. Starting in June 2018, as often as possible the meetings will be on Mondays. See the full schedule for the rest of 2018 below. 

The meetings are at Miami City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive. The meeting will also be live streamed from the Village Council’s Facebook page. View the agenda for the June meeting here.

Please note that most but not all meetings will be on Mondays. In two cases the Council will meet on Friday. The Council will make every effort to secure Monday meeting dates for all of 2019 and thereafter.

June: Monday, June 18
July: Monday, July 30
August: No meeting
September: Friday, Sept. 21
October: Monday, Oct. 29
November: Monday, Nov. 19
December: Friday, Dec. 14

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4th of July picnic and fireworks now at Regatta Park

Coconut Grove's 4th of July picnic and fireworks will take place in Regatta Park this year, on Wednesday, July 4 from 6 to 9 pm.

This fun-filled event for the whole family will feature live music by one of South Florida's best musical talents - Spam Allstars and an enhanced family fun zone done in partnership with Miami Kids Magazine.

Enjoy live music, contests, games, face painting, and photo booth fun followed by our spectacular fireworks presentation! Pack a picnic, bring your blankets and chairs for a spectacular evening along the waterfront in Coconut Grove.

Admission is free; a Freebee shuttle service will also be provided before and after the event to and from neighboring parking lots and garages. Bicycle valet will also be available provided by Bike Coconut Grove

After the fireworks join the official after-party at The Commodore, Coconut Grove's newest cocktail lounge, located at The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove.

The event was moved because the dock at Peacock Park which was destroyed by Hurricane Irma, is still not repaired. I didn't realized, I thought they shot the fireworks from the water, but they were shot from the docks.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

'Black Panther' featured at free movie night

The BID is presenting  Movies in the Park this summer. The first event, Friday, June 22 event features "Black Panther."

Dress up as your favorite superhero and enter to win a prize in the costume contest.

Gates open at 8:00 pm; Movie begins at 8:30 pm.

Admission is free; a Freebee shuttle service will also be provided before and after the event to and from neighboring parking lots and garages. 

Bicycle valet will also be available provided by Bike Coconut Grove. 

The Barnacle is at 3485 Main Highway.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Coconut Grove summer bicycle tours

Join local historian and bike enthusiast Frank Schena as he uncovers the captivating history of Miami's oldest and most charming community by visiting notable sites and taking participants on a scenic and historic ride through the lush, shady lanes of Coconut Grove.

June: 6/16, 6/30-July: 7/7, 7/21-August: 8/4, 8/18- September: 9/1,9/15, 9/29

Bike and explore every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month from 9:30 am to noon.

To register, contact: Frank Schena -786.346.3356
frank@royalpalmtoursofmiami.com
facebook.com/royalpalmtoursofmiami

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Celebrate Father's Day with Cars & Cigars

Cars & Cigars is back at the Barnacle on Sunday, June 17. The yearly event coincides with Father's Day.

Listen to '70s Country Rock music by the Tall Boys and vote for your favorite classic car while enjoying a fun-filled afternoon by Biscayne Bay. Grownups can sample hand-rolled cigars and cold beverages in the biergarten, and kids can craft a gift for Dad. Well-behaved dogs on hand-held leashes no more than six feet long are welcome.

Admission is $2. Kids under 6 free.

Visitors are invited to bring their own picnic or purchase grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, and more right here at the park.

If you would like to register a classic car, 1993 or older, please call 305-442-6866 or email Katrina.Boler@dep.state.fl.us.

The Barnacle Historic State Park is located at 3485 Main Highway. 


Tall Boys are performing live.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Changing the trolley route again

The City Commission will be discussing changes in the Coconut Grove and Brickell trolley route at today's meeting, June 14. 

There is a resolution to authorize the City Manager to modify the trolley routes. 

The route changes in Coconut Grove will connect riders to transit services at the Coconut Grove and Douglas Road Metrorail Stations and provide stops at City recreational areas, including Douglas Park, Virrick Park, and Armbrister Park. The Brickell route will be extended from Mercy Hospital to Miami City Hall to improve connectivity to Brickell and Downtown.

This is all well and good for Village West but will screw up the northern end if there is not a Grove trolley at Mercy Hospital, too. Because if not, instead of hopping on the trolley at Mercy Hospital and taking it through the whole Grove in one long ride, you will have to make a trolley change at City Hall, making the ride even longer by adding wait times for the second trolley. I guess it's the same difference as waiting for the trolley change at Mercy, but it seems that Mercy basically encompasses the whole Grove now and stopping at City Hall for a trolley change from the Brickell route to the Grove route will sort of be an inconvenience and time killer once you get to City Hall.

The Brickell trolley should cover Brickell, the Grove trolley should cover the Grove, people should not be made to stop and change trolleys in the center of the Grove. That makes no sense. Grovites should not be made to change trolleys for such a short run.  This whole route change is being considered because the Village West was screwed out of the 249 bus, so now the city is trying to make up for that by screwing the North Grove.


We have less and less parking spaces and are told to take public transportation because that is the way of the future, but the city and county refuse to put money into public transportation and do it the right way. I'm betting none of these commissioners or city leaders take trolleys so they don't really care how they operate. I know I should wait until the new route it planned before complaining about it, but if we don't complain now, it may be too late after the damage is done.

It's amazing that trolleys have been around for over 100 years and operated so well but today we can't get from here to there without a problem. Maybe the solution is once we are dropped off at City Hall we can take an electric scooter from City Hall to Center Grove or to Mercy if that's the direction you're headed.

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10-year-old writes new book with her Father

With just a few words, 10 year old authoress Reanna Desouvre and her dad Yanatha Desouvre express the deep love that is felt between sisters. From the opening line, “Big Sister, Little Sister finally together,” to the very last, “Big Sisters, Little Sisters best friends for life,” this all-ages children’s book tells the universal story of enduring love between sisters. 

Already a #1 Amazon.com best seller, Big Sister, Little Sister, chronicles Reanna’s first day as a big sister, and the year and a half that follows, as she finds out what it means to be a big sister. Big Sister, Little Sister is Reanna’s first choice when it comes to reading a bedtime story with her two little sisters.

Sunday, June 17, The Bookstore and Kitchen Presents: a special Father’s Day event with Reanna and Yanatha. 

Big Sister, Little Sister chronicles the first day Reanna became a big sister and all the days beyond that over the year and a half it is written for all ages to enjoy. 

Reanna and Yanatha

Yanatha Desouvreis an educator and public speaker born in Port-au-Prince and raised in Brooklyn and Philadelphia. The author of An Essential Guide to Windows 10 (2015), he’s a Marketing and Information Technology coach and consultant who has taught at Miami Dade College and Chestnut Hill College. His literary works include Walk Through this Journey (2006), (2008), A Family Affair (2010), To Whom Much is Given (2012), Savor the Moments (2014) and Proud to Be (2016).

The bookstore event starts at 3 pm.

The Bookstore & Kitchen are at Main Highway & Fuller Street. 

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Helping Shake-A-Leg

Floridians, and especially those of us in the Coconut Grove area, remember last September’s visit from Hurricane Irma. Our neighbors at Shake-A-Leg Miami received a devastating left hook-uppercut that day, losing the main dock and most of the sailboats designed for disabled children and adults.  

The non-profit has been able to function using a temporary dock and repaired boats, but the main dock construction is taking a long time due to delays caused by funding needs and red tape.

Shake-A-Leg needs support, financially and through volunteers, to expand its programs for disabled children and veterans. For more information on how to help, visit www.shakealegmiami.org.

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Grab a Grove Freebee from anywhere now

Trolleys, scooters, Uber and now an expanded free Freebee ride are all part of the Grove experience now.

Freebee is a free ride service which you have probably seen around the village. They operated mostly in the Center Grove since March but now they have expanded their route and their hours. They will start to operate 7 days a week.

They now run from Coco Plum circle to the South; Le Jeune to the West and Alice Wainwright Park to the North. See the map below.

In a few weeks, the service will also be offered daily.

Sunday-Wednesday 11 am - 8 pm / Thursday-Saturday 11 am - 11 pm

Riders can request on-demand door-to-door transportation to and from the Grove. The program is funded through advertising.

You can hop on at any place or download the app and summon them for free. They are also Grove Ambassadors who will recommend places to visit or places to eat in the Grove.



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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden Outreach

Kiki Mutis
The guest speaker at the June 14 meeting of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove is Kiki Mutis, the Community Outreach Coordinator at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. She organizes and teaches professional development workshops for school teachers, and works with volunteers to coordinate school field trips including programs for special needs children.  Education is a key component of Fairchild's mission to explore, explain and conserve the world of tropical plant

Kiki was born in Colombia and has lived in Miami since 1981. She received a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Master of Science in Environmental Science from Florida International University after completing the Peace Corps Master International Program. She worked as a Natural Resource Volunteer in Bolivia from 1999- 2001. 

The Rotary Club of Coconut Grove meets every Thursday at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, 2990 South Bayshore Drive at 12:30 pm. The cost of the meeting is $25 with lunch or $10 without lunch. 

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Now this is a wooden house!

I found your piece on historical (aka hysterical) preservation in West Grove interesting. The owners of the "designated wooden houses of Village West'"will have a significant loss in the future values of their property. Will the City of Miami make good on some sort of restitution of this loss? 

Attached are two photos of the Jewel Parker Residence, another wooden Grove house. My Grandmother's home was designed and built for her by my father (Alfred Browning Parker) in 1957. The home was published in House Beautiful, Florida Modern and included in The Villager's Book of Outstanding Homes in Miami.

Unfortunately, the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and the City of Miami felt that the 60 year old Alfred Browning Parker design had no historic or other value and had it demolished...

Feel free to use my observations and comments in the Grapevine.

Best,
Robin Parker

Coconut Grove




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Monday, June 11, 2018

Favorite Anthony Bourdain quotes

Two Anthony Bourdain quotes that pertain to the Grove:

I always love this quote from Anthony regarding food trucks and food stands: "What city worth its concrete, doesn't afford it's citizens the opportunity to eat on the street?"

And he said this about Havana, Cuba: "It's beautiful, not debased by the glass and steel boxes of the modern age."

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Scooting around town

I'm loving the Bird scooters so much. If you stand in the center of the village you can see people crisscrossing and going in all directions.

I've noticed that a lot of people use it to grab lunch. They order first, then use the scooter to scoot down the block and pick up the lunch. It takes them a few minutes. This construction worker did that. He whizzed by going west and then a few minutes later came back with a bag of food in his hands He was so fast that I couldn't get a better photo of him.

I've seen many others do the same thing. They aren't just trying the scooters out, they are using them to get around and to get lunch.

Recently one or two of the parking garages raised their daily rates from $6.00 to $21.00. I think this is to keep all the construction people out who arrive early and take up all the spaces. I remember there being talk at a meeting not too long ago about having the construction workers park in empty lots in the Village West, many which are owned by the same people building in the Center Grove. I'm thinking with these scooters, that's how they can get around. Workers can park their cars down on Grand Avenue and then scoot to the construction site.

I saw some guys on OneWheel electric skateboards recently. Are those going to start popping up around here, too?

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

People are quite vocal about the wooden houses

The post about the wooden houses in Village West really struck a nerve on Facebook. While we don't get many comments here in the Grapevine, people have lots to say on Facebook.

As a reminder, there is a meeting regarding the issue Monday, June 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and another on Saturday, June 16 from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Both meetings at Armbrister Park, 4000 Grand Avenue.

There is a link here in the dropbox, that describes the various houses that still exist in Village West and this report explains the concept of making the houses historic.

Comments on the Facebook post, which has been seen and read by over 40,000 people, can be seen here. There are about 90 comments and people shared that post with their own Facebook friends, 33 times!

The majority of people are in favor of historic preservation for the houses and a few are reminding those in favor, that the owners of the houses need to have a say on the issue. 


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State finds County negligent regarding Playhouse

The State of Florida and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sent a letter to Michael Spring, senior ad visor of the county mayor, who is in charge of the county's Coconut Grove Playhouse plans. The letter was sent May 21, 2018, according to the Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse group. 

DEP says the lease clearly states that the leased premises shall be developed consistent with the Business Plan approved by the Board of Trustees, and adhered to the timetable, which it has not.

There were four project phases and the County has not been able to meet the first or second phase within the range of the months allocated.

DEP's recommendation: that "the Department take necessary steps to enforce the terms of the Lease with respect to the County's failure to adhere to the timetable set forth in the Business Plan."

The state and DEP are requesting a specific detailed proposal for completing the project by the County and FIU, the county's partner.

Thanks to the Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse group, the letter is here in their dropbox.

Related stories:
HEP Board approves County's Playhouse Plans
HEP Board's decision being appealed

Playhouse Appeal partially accepted
Another long night of Playhouse talk

YOU MAY NOT LIFT THE PHOTOS & TEXT. IT'S COPYRIGHTED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. YOU CAN HOWEVER SHARE A STORY ON SOCIAL MEDIA BY USING THE LINKS HERE.
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.