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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The sports fields at Peacock Park

I had a talk with Ron Nelson, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's chief of staff, about the basketball courts and soccer fields at Peacock Park. While St. Stephen's is getting a lot of blame, including from me, about hogging the sports fields, Ron tells me that it comes down to the City. I did reach out to a number of people at the school before posting the last story, but I was ignored by all of them.

St. Stephen's has use of the area from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm on school days and then the City is supposed to take over and manage the area, where the general public can then come in and play. The problem has been that the City doesn't want to leave the area unsupervised and as of yet, there is no supervisor. I had asked why they need a supervisor now after all these years of no supervision, but apparently they do.

The CIP (Capital Improvements Projects Department) is working on fixing up the glass house, which will be home to a parks manager who will manage the whole park including the basketball courts and the soccer fields. The problem now is that asbestos was found in the ceiling, something having to do with the air conditioning vents and the bathrooms are not ADA compliant yet either. The Chamber of Commerce and the NET office shared the space for years and none of this was a problem, but they didn't find the problems until they started renovation.

Ron tells me that they are hoping for this to be all rectified in 30 days, but knowing how government works, it could be a while. The parks manager would be in one side of the glass house and a restaurant is still planned for the other side, an extended RFP went out at the request of applicants and they City is hoping that someone will come in and create a restaurant soon.

Ron is considering having a park ranger come in and possibly open the basketball courts if not the whole area and eventually he hopes that leagues will take place at the soccer fields. Armbrister Park in the Village West has a soccer league, but as football teams take over the park, he feels that it would be a good idea for the soccer leagues from Armbrister to join soccer leagues at Peacock. Interestingly enough, Armbrister Park is quite a busy park with not only soccer and football leagues, but also Lacrosse and softball, too.

When finally opened, the basketball courts would be first come, first served and the soccer fields would probably require a reservation system and possibly a nominal payment for leagues.

So that's the plan. I did suggest that it looks bad for St. Stephen's to be using the park and then locking it when they leave, but Ron reminded me that they have paid supervision when they use the area.

For decades, St. Stephen's has used the park for school activities. They paid an annual use permit which was about $153.00 and they had access to all of Peacock Park, now under a new deal, they only have use of the section you see fenced in.

The new revocable license agreement/use agreement that St. Stephen's signed, is for a period of 10 years. St. Stephen’s  had been renewing an Annual Use Permit each year. The new agreement acknowledges their contribution and eliminates the need to renew their annual agreement for 10 years. It is NOT a lease, it conveys NO property rights and it is revocable with 10 day notice. 

They were rightly told that they had used the park for 40 years or more and maybe it is time to give back. They happily accepted that challenge and the result is $500,000 worth of improvements to the 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.


Anonymous Al Crespo said...

Ron is considering.....since when does Ron have the power to consider?

March 05, 2014 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why I prefer to go play Basketball anytime at Alice Wainwright park, just a few minutes away on the bike. Or to Virginia key, 5 minutes more down K.Biscayne.

Much better view, (somehow they survive without Sacred Mangroves blocking the view, court always open.

March 05, 2014 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you really playing basketball or just sitting on the bench admiring the view?

March 05, 2014 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No private entity should be allowed to exclusively own the usage rights to approximately one third of a public park that was built and maintained by tax dollars. A church that pays no taxes but uses the resources that tax dollars pay to build and maintain and uses them exclusivly for members of their congregation while not allowing anyone else during peak hours is absurd.
Claiming that this is okay because it's been going on for decades is doubling down on the stupid.

March 05, 2014 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron should stand there and supervise the park every day from 3pm until midnight. it would be the only thing he's ever done for the benefit of citizen's of Miami. Also, it might keep him out of trouble.

March 06, 2014 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:02 AM:

Why don't you do a stint at the park and let the rest of us know how it goes? It'll give you a chance to benefit the citizens of Miami, or the Grove at least.

March 06, 2014 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The church demolished a beautiful old building under suspisious circumstances and now they put locks on a public park. Not very charitable citizens.

March 06, 2014 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got an update from the Parks and Rec department:

"As of today (3/10) the soccer fields will be open to the public from 3pm – 8pm. However these are hours that will change over time as we figure out permits. "

I will be there today at 6pm!


March 10, 2014 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate the fence around the basketball court. So many d@mn fences all over the place!

March 12, 2014 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The turf on the soccer field is coming up.. If they paid 500k for those fields they got ripped. Time to replace the turf.

January 02, 2016 10:29 AM  

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