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Monday, November 21, 2016

From pioneers to artists; now what?

Now is our time to take back Coconut Grove. I often joke that the Grove2030 group should be called Grove2025 so that we can get the job done faster, but also because 2025 would be the 100 year anniversary of when Coconut Grove was annexed into the City of Miami in 1925.

Coconut Grove has been many things over the years, from a mangrove-filled wilderness in the 1800s consisting of pioneers from up north and the Bahamas, to what we are today, what are we actually? I think we are a developer's playground. Where we see green, they see land to be cleared and developed.

I found it interesting, when local attorney and historian Tucker Gibbs mentioned at the "self governance" meeting that Coconut Grove was a thriving community up until the 1950s and then started getting depressed. I'm not sure of the reasons, but probably the rest of Miami was growing and people always seem to rush toward the fresh and new, picture Miami Beach and Key Biscayne and the outer suburbs in that era. All new. All fresh.

Anyway, Tucker says that when the Grove started being depressed, artists started moving in and that is when the arts community took over Coconut Grove. It was not a thing from the beginning, it was started in the 1950s and went very big into the 1960s. That's when Coconut Grove became an artists community. The rents were cheap and the artists came and turned places into galleries. And that went on for decades until the developers came in the 1990s and turned the Grove into an entertainment district. CoconWalk and Mayfair were built in the late 1980s. Money moved in, artists moved out little by little.

Now we are at a crossroads again. It seems like the vision for Grove2030 is an ideal place to be:

In 2030 the village of Coconut Grove will be distinguished by lush, natural beauty; authentic character and traditions; and by a diverse and engaged citizenry. A network of safe, tree-lined neighborhoods will be linked by bike- and pedestrian-friendly pathways to a vibrant, sustainable business core that caters to the Grove’s eclectic mix of inhabitants.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tucker is wrong. Mayfair opened in the late 1970s. It's second phase, which included an upscale Burdines, arrived a few years later. The real threat to Coconut Grove are the ugly, monstrous condo towers sprouting up along South Bayshore Drive. The city once said it would not allow that stretch to become a condo canyon. Next building to be torn down: the corner of 27th Avenue and S. Bayshore. Someone should scramble to make it historic before the new owner, who has already started to shred the insides of its original Ken Treister artwork, demolishes it for yet another ugly condo.

November 21, 2016 7:13 AM  
Anonymous John Dolson said...

It IS time for action, and only a motivated citizenry can get the kind of controls, code enforcement and action required to meet those Grove 2030 goals. Like many of my neighbors, I am not anti-development, but pro responsible development that preserves the character of our diverse community and its rich cultural history. Lot splitting needs to stop and the numerous loopholes developers use to circumvent the Neighborhood Conservation District code intent and specific language need to be closed, and quickly. Being allowed to deliberately let a building rot after purchase so that it can be condemned and demolished by the city and then have the developer 'by right' be able to subdivide build huge homes too large for the lots, removing tree canopy and worse, much worse, displacing people (West Grove)can't be condoned anymore. A place to really focus efforts right now is the West Grove, where slum lords have created a people crisis. I am hoping that the efforts of groups working through the Village Council can begin to apply the needed pressure, documentation of violations, as well as solutions that help our city govern better and preserve and enhance the Grove. Let's start with a focus on common code enforcement problems across the NCD districts, and particularly, helping the residents of our historic West Grove neighborhood.

November 22, 2016 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lived in my 1938 West Grove Home for the past 34 Years. I am being forced out not by a slumlord but by a greedy developer who has chosen to build 2 oversized houses along my entire property line. Many trees were removed, the property raised 5 feet which now makes my 6 foot fence 2 feet. When completed I will be able to watch people swimming in their pools from from my bedroom windows.

November 22, 2016 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bend with the wind or break" seems appropriate. I just got out of jail on a no bond potential life in prison charge. A Mother and Daughter con artist team who never rented my unit called the police on me 27 times resulting in 12 police reports and 2 arrest. It appears Coconut Grove is now ground zero for squatters who like in the movie "Pacific Heights" constantly call the police on landlords and end up with 9 months free rent or own the property. All this development leads to vacant homes, both old and new, and ripe for squatters. All my charges were dropped and those two ladies have vanished. Jobie Steppe

November 22, 2016 10:14 AM  
Blogger reid prevatt said...

Jobie you do have some stories, bAd luck or whatever Not making fun of you but you do know the grove better than most. Also development is going to happen. Prime property. Do not like the high rises but love the Regatta Park. better than that TV shows home. Dining businesses ,people there is some good. One thing I never understood, (city of Miami0 was how they could seLL THAT PARKing garage.

November 23, 2016 7:22 PM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

2030 is excellent, but you're right. It should be 2025.

Why? Because it's possible. And more likely to succeed.

November 25, 2016 10:20 AM  

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