Grand Central Park will transform nearly five acres of downtown Miami in to a park.
Grand Central Park will transform nearly five acres of downtown Miami from an underused, vacant lot into a temporary, multi-use recreation space that will activate and beautify a neighborhood on the verge of urban blight.
The Park will be located at the site of the former Miami Arena, just a short walk from Historic Overtown, Downtown Miami, the American Airlines Arena and Bayside Marketplace. The site is easy accessible from I-95 and I-395 and within walking distance to the Metrorail (Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre Station) and several Metromover Stations.
The main feature of Grand Central Park will be a sloping plaza nestled within a berm, 15 feet at its highest point, and planted in ‘no mow’ microclover ecoturf. The park plantings evoke the native Florida habitat with an urban slash pine forest, palm groves and cypress bog gardens that harvest and purify rainwater. The subtle slope of the plaza and lawn affords multiple uses for festivals, parking, and wheelchair accessibility. The encircling berm forms an amphitheater shape that is oriented toward the sea breeze, bay view, and freedom tower (Miami’s Statue of Liberty).
A veritable oasis in downtown Miami, Grand Central Park was conceived as an open platform to planners of community events, corporate picnics, musical performances and festivals. It is a place where Miami residents and visitors can enjoy many different experiences in an outdoor urban greenspace. A typical day in the life of Grand Central Park might begin with an organic farmers’ market and artisans’ market in the morning; then the plaza space might operate as overflow parking during the work day, serve as an impromptu concert venue at sunset, and be colonized as a drive-in and bike-in movie theater at night. All the while, the park’s paths and benches will provide much-needed passive recreation space for the downtown district. The multi-purpose configuration of the space allows for use as a fairground, corporate picnic site or home to outdoor lecture series. Current plans also include a skateboard park and an open-air ice rink during the holiday season.
In March 2010, the Omni/ParkWest Redevelopment Association (OPWRA), a not-for-profit corporation, began Phase I of Grand Central Park with a $65,000 donation from Grand Central, a recently opened event venue, and NMA Investments, an adjacent property owner. The idea was improve the site in order to reduce the negative perception of the area and improve residents’ quality of life. The donated funds were used to hire local workers and homeless to improve the site through the removal of 100 truck loads of debris and gravel, smoothing and cleaning the site, and the installation of lighting and fencing to improve safety and control ingress and egress. For Phase II, OPWRA has received in-kind contributions of material and labor from a variety of sources. Walter Meyer and Jennifer Bolstad, the principals of Local Office Landscape and Urban Design, a landscape design firm based in Miami, New York, and Puerto Rico, have contributed their considerable expertise to the design of Grand Central Park.
With $112,199 funded of a $311,727 budget, OPWRA is seeking a $199,528 grant from the Community Redevelopment Agency to complete Phase II. Their grant request is on the January 24, 2011 CRA Board Meeting Agenda for approval.
Your contributions will go towards local plantlife relocation, community programming, and assist with operational expenses of Grand Central Park. For more information about sponsorship opportunities or if you would like to do an event, please email email@example.com.