Artificial turf is a no-go, to be replaced with grass

When the narrow swales of grass along Brickell started getting pulled up and replaced with artificial turf, neighbors took notice. Many spoke up, and by a margin of about 10 to 1, most did not like the artificial grass. Not at all. It was called tacky, and worse, and many expressed concern over how it would withstand the many dogs using it for their poop and pee.

Although some reports said it was BHA’s plan, BHA officers were as surprised as neighbors by the radical plan for synthetic grass everywhere, and the pouring of cement where it did not look like it belonged, such as covering tree roots.

We are happy to report BHA has been told that Mayor Suarez spoke with the supplier on October 15 and negotiated removal of the artificial turf and replacement with natural options at no additional cost to the city.

Background on what BHA really wanted

Since the Brickell Avenue Sidewalk & Beautification project was “completed” in 2014, an item remaining at the top of the punch list of unfinished elements was ground cover needed for the areas around the trees in the swales along the avenue. As the photo above shows, those areas are still unfinished with no resolution that we can see. The roots and shade prohibit grass growing, so the areas under the trees look unfinished and haphazard with dirt, rubble and debris accumulating. We have been asking for an attractive, sustainable solution for four years. Remember the little fences that were hastily put in 2016 that everyone hated? We didn’t ask for those either but they were an attempt to address the tree surround areas.

BHA has continued asking for something ever since that last debacle, which also had to be removed. We suggested ground cover we’ve seen elsewhere such as pebbles or rubberized mulch adhered in place or other filler that would look attractive and still also allow aeration needed for the trees’ root systems. We’ve seen attractive iron grates designed to surround trees that we suggested. All along BHA’s focus was not on the areas where grass grows, but rather the places where it will not, under the trees.

The Mayor was trying to be responsive to the need to finish the project and we believe did not get great advice in this situation. We appreciate the effort and are happy the city will fix the blunder. Thank you neighbors for letting your views be known!