Article: Workshops Focus on Planning for Parks
THE MIAMI HERALD
While Miami may be lacking in park space, there is a way to piece together an ideal parks system with some creative thinking and the city's current stock of green space.
That was the message last week by consultants hired by the city to oversee a series of workshops aimed at creating a new master plan for Miami's parks system.
Wednesday night, they met with downtown residents at Lummus Park. It was the first in a series of neighborhood workshops.
''What is being done here will be used as a model for other cities across the country as to how to create a parks system for a 21st century city,'' said David Dixon, a representative of Goody Clancy, a consulting firm hired to aid in the workshop process. ``The parks have to serve as great common grounds to bring both communities and families together. The idea is to really enhance the quality of life for people in the city of Miami and hopefully make other people want to live here.''
Although fewer than a dozen residents were on hand for Wednesday's meeting, they had many suggestions.
Suggestions made during the three-hour session ranged from creating a central park somewhere near downtown, creating access for disabled and elderly people at Virginia Key Beach, making more entrepreneurial opportunities available at parks, creating more dog parks in the city and implementing traffic calming methods around parks.
While the Goody Clancy representatives conceded that Miami has considerably less park space than most heavily populated cities, they explained that an ideal parks system for Miami would link many of the smaller parks around the city with elements such as bicycle or jogging paths to form a connected system, which would also make use of the unused land along the city's bay and up the river.
''There are many great assets that the city has that are being overlooked,'' said Larissa Brown, also from Goody Clancy. ``With some improvement this could be a fantastic system.''
The workshop followed an afternoon session for downtown businesses. On Thursday, a meeting was held for residents of Edgewater and Wynwood.
''The meeting was very good; it really seems that they're trying to take Miami into the future,'' said Lummus Park manager Roberto Gonzalez, who also spoke as a resident. ``We really have to pay more attention to our parks, and it's important to get input from everyone so we'll know what the people want.''
The workshops run through September in the city's Northeast quadrant, with meetings for residents of Overtown, Little Haiti and the Upper Eastside.
Other parts of the city will be addressed in future workshop series.