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Front Page » Communities » Miami to vote on conservancy to run Maurice Ferré park

Miami to vote on conservancy to run Maurice Ferré park

Written by on October 8, 2019
Miami to vote on conservancy to run Maurice Ferré park

After the passing of former Mayor Maurice Ferré last month, the Miami City Commission will vote on an agreement with a new not-for-profit conservancy for the management of a waterfront park renamed in his honor.

The legislation that would shift the management of Maurice A. Ferré Park to the new conservancy is sponsored by Mayor Francis Suarez and Commissioners Wifredo “Willy” Gort, Ken Russell, Manolo Reyes and Keon Hardemon and featured on today’s (10/10) agenda for first reading.

According to the proposed agreement, The Maurice A. Ferré Park Conservancy would have the “exclusive authority to direct, operate, manage, maintain, program and develop all aspects of the City-owned property known as Maurice A. Ferré Park, exclusive of the Leasehold Area, for the purposes of ensuring maximum community utilization and enjoyment, fundraising for its operations and promoting the Park as a signature civic and cultural space.”

On 90% of days, the park at 1075 Biscayne Blvd. would be reserved for free public access and use.

While there have been talks of creating a conservancy to look after the park for the better part of the decade, the idea has never come to fruition. The park is currently overseen by the Bayfront Park Management Trust, chaired by Joe Carollo, the only city commissioner who is not a sponsor of the legislation. During the transition, Bayfront Park Management Trust would continue to manage the park’s daily operations and receive funding for the operations.

The conservancy would be tasked with creating a capital improvement plan and operating budget for the park, as well as an endowment fund.

Once the agreement for the management of the park was executed, the conservancy would have to meet fundraising goals of $1 million within the next six months and $10 million within 12 months that would go to the endowment fund. The conservancy would start operating and maintaining the park when it confirmed it had received financial commitments totaling $11 million.

Sonia Succar Ferré Rodríguez, a granddaughter of the former mayor, spoke on behalf of the conservancy at a city Sea Level Rise Committee meeting this week, saying the agreement would help deter development of the park’s land and help bring more funding for the park.

“We felt it was incredibly important to have an entity, a body, helping to stay focused on the protection of the park,” she said.

The committee will have to address the matter again after Oct. 12, when it assumes its new role as the Climate Resilience Committee after consolidating with the Waterfront Advisory Board.

The planned conservancy would not have any responsibility for maintaining or funding the approximately 8-acre leased site within the park consisting of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Frost Science Museum, Knight Plaza and the Museum Parking Garage.

Back in December, the city commission unanimously approved changing the name from Museum Park to Maurice A. Ferré Park, in honor of the city’s first Hispanic mayor who has been often been called the father of modern Miami. Previously, the park had been named Bicentennial Park.

The park is south of the Federal East Coast Slip and AmericanAirlines Arena, with the Pérez and Frost museums to its north. East of the park is Biscayne Bay and to the west is Biscayne Boulevard.

One Response to Miami to vote on conservancy to run Maurice Ferré park

  1. Steve Hagen

    October 11, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    While I favor the concept of a Conservancy for Ferre Park I believe the documents being considered by the Commission do not
    address the basic appearance the park should strive toward in order to improve it and maintain it as green resource for Miami residents and tourists.

    I believe it is extremely important to include a current inventory stating the total acreage of the park and then area measurements and percentages of land that is currently covered with roads, parking, buildings, paved pathways and the bay walk. The docddumets do not detail what is actually included im the park

    When an inventory is complete, I suspect between 20- 25% of the current total park acreage is already hard surfaces or buildings.

    The two museums and roadway already cover ten acres or a third of the original 30 acre park. The Conservancy documents say the museums cover 8 acres, the difference perhaps being the roadway but documents don’t state that.

    For the sake of preserving real green space, that is grass, plants and trees verses man made features, the documents should state that at o time should more than 25% of the park be covered with buildings, hard surfaces or man made features including sculpture. This should be stated in the documents.

    If this park is to be enjoyed, really enjoyed it needs shade. There should be a goal set that regular progress must be made to plant and maintain shade trees so that by 2025 at least 30% of total park area would be covered by shade as measured at noon with a further goal of 40% being covered with shade by 2030. This should be stated in the documents.

    In terms of access, being open 90% of the days needs further definition. Any resident should not have to check ahead to see if the park will be closed on a weekend they choose to visit.

    I understand there needs to be flexibility of days to accommodate a major event that would benefit the Conservancy however, I believe it is reasonable to restrict use so that only one weekend a month could be booked plus days being added to either side of a weekend. Move in and move out days must be counted in determining the 10% of the days used. This is not detailed in the current documents.

    It is reasonable that certain parts of the park should remain open 100% of the time such as the heavily landscaped or shaded areas, including a children’s garden and the bay walk. Events could be confined to the roadway south of the museums, the open lawn areas and certain other areas.

    Again the public should have access to a substantial part of the park on event days and on move in and move out days.

    Since Mayor Suarez will serve on the first board, he must take the responsibility to incorporate these changes in to the documents.

    When I heard about the conservancy I had planed on a donation but I can not support the current landscape plan which I view as big on show but short on romance.

    I feel the plan is short of providing reasons for residents to return on a regular basis. Without repeat users any park will fail.
    I trust the Conservancy will figure that out. Steve Hagen