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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why does the Grove need 'a draw'?

People keep talking about the Grove needing "a draw." Why?

Why does the Grove have to be a tourist destination? Why can't the Grove be a sleepy little village where the locals can be alone without busloads of sightseers?

As businesses are weeded out through the fight for survival, local businesses can move in. The CVS is doing well, it is used by locals. Why not a Publix somewhere? I always felt the Borders Books location would be good for that aside from the parking problems.

Mayfair used to be a Winn-Dixie and Cocowalk was a gas station that I think ended up being a mini-flea market on weekends after the gas station closed. To be honest, this was the Grove to me, not the monolithic tourist traps that took over. I know the idea of a gas station in the center of the Grove is not very appealing, but it did have a Mayberry-Andy Griffith feel to it. I am not asking for that to return, I am just saying that that was the pure and real Coconut Grove to me.

Rather than try to draw tourists from South Beach, why not try to lure village-friendly businesses that would serve the locals on a daily basis. I think this is more of a pure thing that would draw tourists in the end, rather than chain stores and restaurants. The local flavor would draw tourists, not the Gap and Johnny Rockets.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems quite incongruous to me that any inner-city neighborhood would ever have a "Mayberry" feel to it. That Mayberry feel must not include the West Grove, either. I remember Mayberry symbolizing friendliness and OPENNESS to everyone in the community...It's hard to imagine the most segregated neighborhood in the city where three out of four property owners on the east side feel obliged to live behind walls, gates, and fences in fortress homes being very similar to Mayberry.

August 09, 2006 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan, I think you are wrong about the Grove being segregated. I live in Center Grove and just two weeks ago found a guy from the West Grove in my car. It couldn’t have been a week later and I found another West Grove resident in my back yard staring thru my sliding glass door. If you are going to speak of segregation, please get your facts together first.

August 09, 2006 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are the facts you asked for: South of US-1, east of Le Jeune and north of Marler Avenue is 75-98% black. Likewise, South of Marler Ave. is 85 – 95% white; east of 27th ave. and south of US-1 is also 85-95% white; east of Douglas, south of US-1, north of Grand Ave, and west of 27th Ave. is around 90% white or Hispanic. If you look at a demographic map you’ll see that not only is the segregation lucid, but the demarcation at Grand Avenue and Douglas road is truly striking. What about the 10ft. barbed wire fence on Marler Ave. that has been serving as a de facto barricade for the South Grove from the West Grove since the ‘70s?

How about socioeconomic segregation? The people living in the same area mentioned above that is 75-98% black are also living in an area where 35-45% of residents are below the poverty line. The worst percentage anywhere else in the Grove is 7-16%.

These stats are right from the census...not from my car or sliding glass door.

August 09, 2006 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Methinks that ryan has an underdeveloped sense of humor.

ryan, I think that if you did your homework you would find a couple of historical points that would underscore the reason for the demographics of West Grove, not the least of which is an abundance of Section-8 housing.

I say gentrify the place.

August 09, 2006 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't think I ever saw any black people in Mayberry, so the Grove really does have a Mayberry feel.

Also, the West Grove is very historic and to say it is segregated may be true, but the Bahamian people who settled the area segregated it themselves in the 1800s.

August 09, 2006 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

swlip, I guess I didn't "get it" on the original response. That's the problem with the internet sometimes, it can be very difficult to read someone's tone. Nonetheless, I was aware of the history and section 8 demographic.

Anyway, I didn't mean to come across as malicious as it appears. I am just very passionate about making a difference in the community, and obviously the West Grove should be at the center of action/discussion.

That area is already gentrifying. With good urban planning it holds the potential to be a real gem. Let's just hope it becomes a thriving MIXED INCOME neighborhood and not some an extension of the South Grove.

August 09, 2006 11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

martin, the Bahamians may have settled in or near the current "West Grove", but Jim Crow was behind the segregation, not the Bahamians.

August 09, 2006 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Racism, segregation, gentrification, hate, love, all that aside, whether it be true/accurate or not. Don't know if you all checked, but we do live in a big city. Those roads, the airport, and other city/county supported services we rely on don't run on their own. Our govt. gets money partly from how well our economy does, and tourism is close to one of our top money making industries. Miami will never again be small town, for better or worse, so those who want that feel are SOL. The city is on the road to being a big metropolitan city, and there is no turning back. I am all for good/responsible urban planning, but included in that is the reality that chain stores and resturants will bring the Grove lots of economic activity.

August 10, 2006 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Benji, the whole point of the post is that the Grove is dead. We aren't trying to get rid of tourism, we are trying to find an alternative since it has dried up.

Tourists no longer visit the Grove like they once did. They prefer the sand, surf, clubbing, celebs and shopping of South Beach. I don't blame them.

August 10, 2006 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Business and development firms are coming to fear the Grove because of the legacy of militant NIMBYism here. I'm definitely anti-Home Depot or any other big box retail in the Grove (or anywhere else in the inner city, for that matter), but some of the housing and mixed use projects like the Rua one are actually GOOD for the Grove. The 35 stories may have been a little much, but 20 stories is fine, especially in that location.

The Grove needs to embrace smart growth because the growth is inevitable (that's a good thing, it means people want to live in our neighborhood). As Benji pointed out, that means higher density, more pedestrians, more automobile congestion, etc.

If we allow growth the right way the Grove can become a SUSTAINABLE neighborhood where people live year round and support the local economy - we shouldn't be dependent on tourism folks.

August 10, 2006 4:04 PM  

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