brickellgreenspace

Spring 2012 – Community advocates for increased Brickell parkland

By Mark Schrieber

Brickell has undergone a significant transformation over the past few years, burgeoning from a neighborhood dominated by offices with little activity after the workday ended, into a bustling urban district which is the envy of all of Miami. The recent condo boom has provided a healthy mix of residential options and retail components giving Brickell the highest residential density south of Manhattan.

However, there is still a critical piece of infrastructure missing. Brickell lacks the public parkland and open space needed to create and maintain a vibrant neighborhood for the long term. Miami has one of the lowest rates of parkland per 1,000 residents among US cities, and the Brickell neighborhood ranks even lower than the City of Miami average.

As occupancy rates and population continue to explode, there are limited options for the expansion of public space to handle the increased demand from our citizens. The window of opportunity for the City to secure available lands for the health, quality of life and livability of our community is rapidly closing. Brickell Green Space, led by a group of local residents, is advocating for the addition of five acres of public open space for a neighborhood park, which would be similar in scope to Margaret Pace Park or Kennedy Park. This can be done through a combination of acquiring vacant land, and turning temporary parks into permanent parks.Park-Proposedsite

The potential locations for the proposed park align with several previously published master plans and studies. The City of Miami Parks Master Plan, created back in 2007, identified the need for a neighborhood park between Mary Brickell Village and the Miami River. The park also falls along the Metromover and future Miami River Greenway, both of which are being developed as key pedestrian mobility conduits through Brickell, allowing easy access for all. Another area of focus is the transformation of the Brickell Flatiron property into a permanent park, which is identified in the Miami Downtown Development Authority 2025 Master Plan (although construction progress has been slow, delayed by utility and other site complications).

The ideal site identified

Luckily, the slight pause in the pace of development has allowed us time to reconsider our typical development patterns and address the urgent need for quality open space. One of the best opportunities for a large addition of parkland in Brickell is located between the Metrorail and Metromover tracks from the River south to 7th Street. Currently in private ownership, a public/private partnership is being developed to acquire the property.

Public support is significant and will be the driving force in making the park a reality. The new influx of young professionals and families that now call Brickell home have joined longtime residents with a resounding ‘Yes’ to Brickell Green Space.

How you can support the concept

Brickell Green Space has launched a website, www.brickellgreenspace.com, where you can sign up to show your support for new parkland or get involved with the group. Currently the group has garnered approximately 500 signatures from local citizens and key stakeholders standing behind Brickell Green Space, and is on its way toward real change for the community.

Once complete, the new park will be a key component of Miami’s growth from a tourist destination to a true global city.

Mark Schrieber is a Brickell resident and co-founder of the Brickell Green Space initiative, which is a volunteer-led, community advocacy group working for increased parkland in Brickell. A graduate of the University of Miami School of Architecture, Mr. Schrieber is also a Maritime Enforcement Specialist in the US Coast Guard Reserve. He currently works for The Spinnaker Group as a project manager, helping building owners reach their sustainability goals and achieve LEED certification.

From BHA News, Spring 2012, Vol. XXI, No. 1