This extraordinary image posted at Skyscrapercity by James Good illustrates the need for revitalization for downtown’s premier park space. As well as how appropriate the location is for Museums with the Metromover stop already in place. The museums will be a great buffer for the park from the intrusive traffic of the highway beside the park. I am also interested in hearing thoughts from our readers regarding the somewhat sensitive issue of the need for, specifically, green park space.

Is it unfair to compare Miami to other cities in terms of green park space when across the causeway is the enormous public space, Miami Beach. I assure you I am a strong supporter for park space in Miami proper, but I feel there is an entirely different analysis required based on the unique quality of the beach. Being the single most obvious draw for all of South Florida residents, the beach almost creates a requirement of other city parks to include an attraction, if they are to be fully utilized. While some would propose a stadium or a waterpark, it seems that the museums are the perfect, compatible solution, in keeping with the desired qualities of a public green space.

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27 Responses to Museum Park Discussion

  1. www.Miami-Forum.com says:

    I gotta say that a stadium in that area would be pure I candy and draw more people to the area than the Museum would. I would imagine that a Museum could be placed in other locations, but how many other locations would allow Major League players hit Homers into the bay!

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Enough other locations that it would certainly not be a one of a kind thing. And besides there’s plenty of other downtown spots that can be buldozed to build a downtown place for the Marlins that wouldn’t rob us of the last public place on the water where we can go for relaxation and recreation. We need to keep that a park but we need as many trees for shade there as possible. In fact the only thing I don’t like about the current plan for Museum park is that IMO there aren’t enough trees!

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  3. John Paul says:

    I agree, there aren’t enough trees in the proposed plan for the park…We need more shade baring trees in Miami I’m not against palm trees but they just don’t make walking around a pleasant experience. I also think the museums are a great idea for the park it will bring security and they will become a focal point for the park. I just hope the park wont turn into some parking lot. Does any one know if the park will still host those gross events once its remodeled?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    There are not nearly enough trees, we need much more tree canopy providing shade especially if we want a more pedestrian oriented city. I also believe the city should be buying empty lots in many neighborhoods and making parks in their place. I know that can lead to real estate hijinks but every neighborhood should have a park. Kids play in the street because there is no open space near their homes.
    As for the Marlins go to Broward, and stop trying to get freebies from Miami.

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  5. C.L. Jahn says:

    I keep seeing the same insipd comments over and over again: “it will draw people to the park,” “It’s a good use of the park,” “it needs something else to be fully utilized.”

    Let’s clear this up: the PARK is the use of the PARK, and the PARK is the lure of the PARK. The PARK is the full utilization of the PARK.

    What’s the lure of Central Park? It’s a PARK. THat’s it. It is enough. A good park is its own attraction. And this photo illustrates that there will soon be thousands of people who will make use of it; there are a dozen condo projects in this one photo of the park.

    The current park is terrible. But the solution isn’t to get rid of part of the park, the solution is to fix what is actually wrong with the park: lack of shade, lack of activities, the perception that it’s not safe to walk around there.

    Museums are a terrible use of a park. Museums GROW. And if the only place you have to grow is into the park, into the park is where they will grow.

    Find the museums their own space, that allows for future expansion. And fix the damned park without making it something’s back yard.

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  6. James Good says:

    c.l. I have to agree with you on all points there.

    And look at all the empty or little-used lots around the park. Why build on the green?

    Picture of 10 Museum Park

    Park security is something that definitely could be a problem. The museums would help with that. But I’m not sure they’re the best way to deal with it.

    -James.

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  7. Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal says:

    There is a zoo, museum, and various other attractions inside of Central Park…

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Pace Park should be used as an example of what a park in Miami ought to be. It has tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, a playground and well manicured fields for soccer, football and other sports. It’s also only a third the size of Bicentennial.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Shockingly, I agree with Gabriel. The museums WILL provide a good buffer between the park and 395, and will generally enhance the park as a whole.

    There’s nothing holy, sacred, or even particularly interesting about passive green space. Least of all, passive green space devoid of anything resembling a real tree, or a non-homeless visitor.

    Few people seem to realize that Central Park is as artificial as aspartame. Every single lake is artificial. The dirt came from New Jersey (the local soil was too rocky and poor to grow anything meaningful, let alone stately trees). The trees were planted by hand. The rustic hillside cliffs are backed by rebar and concrete.

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  10. C.L. Jahn says:

    I do know that Central Park is artificial. Did YOU know that Central Park replaced a shantytown?

    I know that there’s a zoo in Central Park: there isn’t a museum. Central Park is also quite a lot larger than Bicentennial Park.

    If you want me to support museums in the park, you’ll have to show me how you plan to deal with future growth of the museum. I’ve already seen one downtown park disappear because one of its “features” expanded entirely over it. We need to do better with this one.

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  11. James Wilkins says:

    I agree wholly about shade tree canopy and believe that concern will be addressed all over the city including, Museum Park. It will take some time to get planted and grow in, but give it a couple of years.

    I don’t know why sports are more important than art. Actually I think it is one of the fundamental problems in this country. I love sports, I play tennis and shoot some hoops, but think that art is much more poorly represented and hardly offered to the population at large.

    If Pace park is so well outfitted why not have a park with part of it’s focus on art so close by?

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  12. James Wilkins says:

    The enormous, HUMONGOUS really, Metropolitan Museum is in Central Park.

    I think the concern about growing museums is a good one, however MAM is being built larger than its current collection requires. MAM will grow into the existing building over many years. If storage needs became an issue many years from now, they would most certainly leave the building, by the most significant architects in the world, in tact and store things off sight.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I should have been more clear about Pace Park. I support the Art and Science Museums fully. But I also think that recreational facilities should be incorporated in the design. Otherwise, the whole southern portion of the park will be abandoned by the general public. A giant garden the size of several football fields is supposed to occupy this area. All I’m saying is that the average Miami citizen would appreciate a little more recreational facilities and a little less garden.

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  14. C.L. Jahn says:

    It’s interesting that the Met isn’t listed in the park’s attractions. And as I mentioned before, Central Park can hold Bicentennial park several times over.

    I’ve lived in Miami long enough to learn that planning stops at today. I can’t accept “they would certainly/probably” because there’s a history of choosing buildings over greenspace. I can see the arguments in 20 years that “it’s hardly taking an additional 15% of the park” to accomodate an expansion.

    Of course, the entire town will probably be under 20 feet of water, so I suppose I should quit worrying.

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  15. James Wilkins says:

    Terence Riley planned the complete rebuild design and construction of the new Museum of Modern Art on a tiny site in the middle of 53rd st in NYC. We have new players here in town. It’s a new day for Miami. I understand the wariness when there is a lot of evidence to support concerns, however, if we lived by… that’s what happened before, so that is what will always happen… nothing would ever get done, or ever get better.

    And, admittedly I can make no guarantees.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I am almost sure that the park supporters won’t ever buy into the whole museum idea or the museum supporters into the only park idea.

    Just come up with two alternatives, submit them to vote and get it done.

    I hate how things here take forever to be done because somehow every single person needs to buy into the future plans.

    I support the museum. In most truly urban cities, parks don’t need to be huge to be attractive. They just need to be properly designed.
    We have many parks, many big parks (Tropical, Oleta), we have two decent parks in the vicinity (pace and bayfront). However we still have yet to see a decent sized museum in this city.

    If the museum idea falls, I just hope park designers equivalent to the guys in Herzog De Meuron in park design get hired to do they park plan, and not just some trees and benches get put in place.

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  17. JHop says:

    Gabriel, we agree on so much that I really hate to differ on the question of building in Bicentennial Park. But as one who was working nearby when the park was built, and has watched its decline, this needs to be said. The park eventually failed for one reason above all others: because the city neglected it AS A PARK.

    There was a time, when I worked an overnight shift, that I could carry my breakfast to the park and watch the sun rise. Later it was the site of refreshing strolls during winter lunchtimes. For a while I could see college teams playing baseball or softball in the park as I rode by on the MetroMover. All these were appropriate uses of a city park, and Miami was the richer for them.

    Not once have I paid to attend a car race, circus or rock concert in Bicentennial Park — uses that from time to time have claimed the space to the exclusion of other, more parkly pursuits. What is wrong with free parks, that Miamians are so determined to fill them with things you have to pay to do? (Note the movies, acrobatics, etc., in Bayfront Park.)

    Wasn’t it the dream of Frederick Law Olmstead that free parks and public gardens would soften the experience of a crowded city, revive its public and recharge the creative energies of us all?

    What might Bicentennial Park be if, instead of fencing it off as it stands today, or covering its green with a granite arthouse, the city planned frequent outdoor activity there, invited the college teams back to play, and provided an adequate, visible police presence to discourage the vagrants? Now that Biscayne Boulevard is being rebuilt, and how many hundred condo units are soon to open just across the street from the park, don’t you think we might see some semblance of the pleasures celebrated by Georges Seurat and Stephen Sondheim?

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t the museums just be built in downtown, somewhere in Park West. It doesn’t even have to be that far from the park, maybe just a block or two west of the park. Then, the park designs can be kept for the park just without the museums ON the park, then the green space can cared for and the museums can still be put close by.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    There is no guarantee that either of these two museums will be fully funded. They are each obligated to raise significant funds to complete construction and operate (at a loss) in perpetuity.

    Additionally, there is no requirement that they demonstrate the ability to raise the requisite funding to complete the projects in advance of the design and construction process.

    Imagine that. How can it be that the bond funds can be made available to begin two massive projects (which will absolutely encounter cost overruns – as all construction projects do) without any reasonable basis for blieving that the funds required to complete the projects and operate them (at a loss) will EVER be raised?

    My concern is less about the issue of museums vs. no museums than it is about the very real possibility of two, half-completed museums.

    Then what?

    Ask more questions.

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  20. latinbombshell says:

    MAM and HMSF are already in downtown though, just a stone’s throw from the would-be park … how come we don’t talk about that great resource next to Government Center more? We are discussing the future but some great shit is already happening there!

    I think the real issue here is Miamians getting off their asses and driving somewhere to go to a park. Honestly, and sadly — if people in Miami don’t even go to the freakin’ beach on a regular basis (except for Miami Beach residents) how do you expect them to go downtown for a park attraction? this is going to be for tourists and for adjacent locals. I’m all for it, by the way … but as a citizen born and raised here, what would really do the city well is just more local greenspaces doting the entire county — safe spaces within walking distance we can really use and enjoy without having to use our cars. I would love for “this’ park just to be yet another “park” in Miami.

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  21. latinbombshell says:

    Oh I forgot to add … as far as shade is concerned… please plant hurricane proof trees! Miami is not what it used to be but that is a natural thing to consider when planning a park. “Shade’ is not really “natural” to Miami if you think about indigenous flora.

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  22. Alex says:

    Having just returned from a weekend jaunt to NYC, here’s a few observations:

    Central Park is not a good comparison. It’s 850 acres so no “feature” would be too big for it (the Met is indeed inside the park). It’s surrounded by the city on all four corners so it HAS to be used, even if it’s just for commuting. Same with Boston Commons, Parque del Retiro, Chapultepec, Hyde Park, you name it. They are not “destinations”, they are embedded in the cities.

    But Bicentennial’s location doesn’t lend itself to people just suntering over, and can’t be just for the use of the people living around it -that would be the equivalent of giving the few who can buy at 10 Museum etc, a nice backyard. So some destination would be desirable. I like the museum of science because it has a larger natural audience and it seems to more naturally relate to a park setting. I’m not sold on the MAM. I think they can do quite nicely expanding their current location or creating an annex (examples abound). I agree with Jahn that Miami’s planning -or lack thereof- doesn’t give much hope that we won’t end up paving the whole thing over.

    But what I’d like to see it’s a more concerted push for a real green culture in this city. Outside of Coral Gables, the Grove and other small areas, shade trees are non existent. Why can’t the city or county buy some lots for parks dispersed thrughout the city, like Washington square or Union square?

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  23. Adam says:

    Central Park and the Met are good examples of how a park can house a museum and each benefit from the other. I don’t see why Miamians are so set on having giant lawns everywhere.

    Wake up people, lawns are not that great.

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  24. C.L. Jahn says:

    Adam, I’m not looking for a LAWN. I’m looking for a PARK. Shade, benches, views of the intracoastal, local flora and fauna displaying itself for our benefit. Someplace to escape the noise and bustle of downtown, and pretend, just for a moment, that we are still part of a healthy ecosystem.

    About The Met: The Met disappears in Central park because Central Park is HUGE. The TWO buildings proposed here would take up “only” 20% of the available space. But that’s today: museums GROW. And there isn’t anyplace for these building to grow but further into the park, and Miami is just the kind of place to think “Aw, it’s JUST a PARK; it’s not like it’s being USED or anything.”

    And the fact that we’re already HAVING this discussion only proves that I am absolutely right.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    The biggest problem with the Miami Art Museum is that it has no collection and it has no endowment. MAM is third rate. Or worse. No one visits, there is no art worth seeing.

    The Metropolitian Museum has a collection worth over $1 Bil and when the Met asked the City if they could expand into another 1-3 acres of Central Park the City said NO. (The Met had $100 Mil in private donor money to fund any expansion.)

    The MAM is broke. Why give them free waterfront park land and a taxpayer paid building? Are the taxpayers doing so well they can afford to give away another $600+ Mil to giveaway priceless waterfront park land? Can the taxpayers really afford to see their taxes increase even more?

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Putting massive expensive buildings at taxpayer expense on public waterfront park land is all about egos and not about planning.

    As Marty Marguilies states; museums should be built by private donors and on private land. Only in Miami…

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Why not build a water park for family and tourist to attend. There are no water parks in Dade County. A museum catering to the Cuban community ignores the other Latin community that makes up Miami-Dade County.

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