1814brickellparkplayground

Changes, enhancements sought for 1814 Brickell Park

In late 2015 BHA heard from a group that 1814 Brickell Park needed some changes to better meet the needs of the park’s users. We learned that while the park “was conceived from the desire to cater to a variety of user types in the neighborhood,” it turns out a singular demographic dominates among the park patrons: those 6 and under.

Moms and kids have told BHA that they love the park, but some changes are needed to make it really function well for children, including:

• different playground equipment, with traditional swings and slides that toddlers can more readily use
• more shade structures, particularly over the playground
• better sight lines where plant growth is obstructing views and creating dangerous hiding places
• possibly more areas enclosed by fencing for active kids at risk for running onto a busy Brickell
• better, more reliable lighting

It was just five years ago that 1814 Brickell Park opened in the middle of the southern stretch of Brickell, to the delight of the BHA and neighbors who had been asking for more green space for years.

Peacockpark

Beatriz Planas provided examples of other playgrounds in Miami where the play equipment is more suitable for young children. Above set is in Peacock Park in Coconut Grove.

BHA celebrated at the grand opening with Commissioner Marc Sarnoff who made it all happen, conceiving of and engineering the deal between the City and the family of Tibor Hollo family, which donated part of the purchase price. Then-Commissioner Sarnoff pushed to get the park designed and constructed for the Birckell community. They hired the internationally lauded landscape architecture firm, Enea Garden Design, to design a park to serve multi-users.

It seems “businesswomen in high heels” and “workers from the business district to come and relax” are not there, but not those most frequently spotted at 1814. It’s moms, nannies and children. Many children.

The push for improvements is being spearheaded by Brickell East resident Beatriz Planas who put together an impressive presentation of what was lacking and what was needed at the park, backed by several hundred moms who signed on to her plan. BHA directors were in agreement and want to see the park fulfill its highest function for those who need and use it most.

“We’re thrilled to hear from our residents who are bringing their children to the park every day,” said BHA President Gail Feldman. “We want to make it the best it can be for them as they need this outdoor space.”
Our new District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell and Parks Director Kevin Kirwin have vowed to help bring about the improvements residents wish to see.

“There are probably some simple and fast things we can do initially,” Mr. Kirwin said, “But we’ll look at the park in its entirety.”

Mr. Kirwin said he would start with a community planning charrette to ensure public input by the families and users of the park. We should look for this in the coming few months, he told BHA Board members at their May 4 meeting.

In other green news, Mr. Kirwin said he liked the concept of small green spaces as play spaces, and would look at the end of SE 25 Road where there’s a small parcel of open space along the bay’s edge.

KeyBiscaynePark

Play area at the Village of Key Biscayne.

Modifications Proposed for 1814 Brickell Park, Winter 2016. (PPT presentation, 19 MB)