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Front Page » Communities » Closed Morningside Park pool could reopen elsewhere

Closed Morningside Park pool could reopen elsewhere

Written by on December 24, 2019
  • www.miamitodaynews.com
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Closed Morningside Park pool could reopen elsewhere

A new Morningside Park swimming pool seems all but certain to be built away from its historic but long-closed waterfront site.

But new features could be coming to mitigate the park’s vulnerability to flooding.

At Miami’s Climate Resilience Committee meeting Dec. 2, the Office of Capital Improvements updated members on plans for Morningside Park, reiterating a preference to build the pool inland in the park, and touched on climate resilience features that could be coming to the park.

Jorge Mora, of the Office of Capital Improvements, shared the Morningside Park Proposed Plan, which he clarified was not the master plan. The plan calls for the pool to be built near the community center, toward the park’s north end. The current defunct pool is by the park’s waterfront and was shut down about four years ago.

Mr. Mora said that moving the pool site would allow for open space along the waterfront and would be better for maintenance and operation.

“You’ll find that individuals, instead of having to go to two facilities, back and forth, really feel safe leaving your child in one facility for an entire day,” Mr. Mora said.

Morningside is a 43-acre park at 750 NE 55th Terrace. The future of its pool has been subject to much debate. Community meetings have included one in September at the Morningside Park Community Center with district Commissioner Ken Russell and Mayor Francis Suarez, with some preferring the pool be rehabilitated or the new pool be built in its original location.

However, city staff stated building a new pool in the original location would require that it have a higher elevation. While both the suggested pool location and the current one are in FEMA flood zones, if the pool is built in the latter it would not only have to be higher but also require additional measures for water to flow beneath and around the structures.

Mr. Mora said the city would reengage with the community next year on the plans.

During the presentation, it was also mentioned that the city, through the Department of Resilience and Public Works, could be partnering with the Nature Conservancy. The city is working on an agreement with the conservancy that could see funding to transform the park’s waterfront to a natural shoreline.

It was announced last year that the Nature Conservancy had teamed up with Chubb, a causality insurer, for a $1 million grant from its charitable foundation that would go to a restoration and resilience project in Miami-Dade County. The project would “demonstrate the flood protection benefits of nature-based solutions,” according to The Nature Conservancy website.

“Through their initial analysis, they landed on Morningside Park because of the potential of a natural shoreline here,” said city Chief Resilience Officer Jane Gilbert, “not only to protect the park – because that’s not protecting a lot of people or property values – but because a good design in the park could protect the surrounding neighborhood.”

Ms. Gilbert told Miami Today that building the pool by the community center would allow for more flexibility when designing the living shoreline.

Vice Chair Jose Regalado noted that the pool has long been out of service and said politics has been at play.

“There’s a lot of pushback to get it done right now, some to rebuild it, some to preserve exactly as is, as the park is deemed historic,” he said. “However, it’s not resilient, and I think this a great example of where we are going to be at some point…. where we have to look at the Miami today and the Miami that we are building.”

5 Responses to Closed Morningside Park pool could reopen elsewhere

  1. Elvis Cruz Reply

    December 26, 2019 at 9:15 am

    So the Climate Resilience Committee held a meeting to discuss Morningside Park on Dec. 2, but the public was not notified?

    I am one of many Miamians in favor of fixing the existing pool or building a new pool in the same location, I would have liked to attend that meeting and let the Committee members know many pertinent facts.

    The City’s Parks and Capital Improvements department knows who the interested citizens are. But they didn’t tell us about the meeting.

    How’s that for fair, open, transparent government?

    As for “the current defunct pool”, it was the City’s responsibility to keep it maintained. Why is there no sense of shame within the City for this act of negligence?

    How is it that the City can build a brand-new Dinner Key Marina Dockmaster’s office within the VE flood zone, but says it can’t fix or rebuild Morningside Pool?

    The City implies the existing pool location somehow impedes protecting the shoreline, but that’s false. Morningside Pool is set back 110 feet from Biscayne Bay – plenty of room for any shoreline treatment.

    The majority of Morningside residents wanted the pool fixed and did not want it relocated. 2,100 park users signed a petition asking for the pool to be fixed. Why is that public input being ignored?

    There are other facts that the City is ignoring. This situation does not pass a smell test.

  2. Marc Billings Reply

    January 3, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Fact Check: 2,100 signatures were obtained without a clear and transparent process, including most of those signing not being from the upper east side. Many of which not from Florida.

    Fact Check: The above comment is from a self-proclaimed ‘activist’ whose publicly stated goal is to preserve the historic nature of Morningside Park. His interest is to keep the 1950s design of the park at all costs.

    Fact Check: Nearly 1/3 of the park’s shoreline is blocked by this pool and opening the space will create more access to the waterfront for all families to enjoy.

  3. Mariella Lopez De Albear Reply

    January 3, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    I completely agree with Mr. Cruz as he stated “How is it that the City can build a brand-new Dinner Key Marina Dockmaster’s office within the VE flood zone, but says it can’t fix or rebuild Morningside Pool?”

    ” The City implies the existing pool location somehow impedes protecting the shoreline, but that’s false. Morningside Pool is set back 110 feet from Biscayne Bay – plenty of room for any shoreline treatment.”

    It is more than obvious the administrative body of the city of Miami, is getting worst by the day in subcumming to deep pockets, corrupted developers and not truly upholding ” WE THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE” it quite the other way around. I say we clean the swamp. Go out and vote but first do your research you may just be surprised and vote them out of office.

  4. Rachel Furst Reply

    January 3, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you for reporting on this meeting. It’s an important public green space and many are interested and looking forward to the City’s plans. Please keep us all informed of next steps.

  5. Elvis Cruz Reply

    January 4, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Marc Billings, I’m surprised you opined in a public forum about this issue, because of your anti-public interest positions; you tried to get rid of the basketball court, get rid of the swimming pool, and get rid of the loop road that has made picnicking convenient for families for 66 years.

    Your first “Fact Check” was not factual: The 2,100 signatures were obtained by getting signatures from Morningside Park users. Like the park itself, the petition did not discriminate against people who don’t live in Morningside or the Upper Eastside. Whomever was using the park was asked to sign. Only four or five out of the 2,100 signatures were from out-of-state visitors to the park.

    Your second “Fact Check” is mostly factual. Yes, I would like to preserve the historic nature of Morningside Park, because it is an excellent design. A past City of Miami Parks Director, Ray Plumer, did an outstanding job when he designed the park. You may not like that design, for 66 years the public has enjoyed and continues to enjoy it (except for the pool which has been closed for four summers, soon to be five).

    That’s why 2,100 people signed the petition, and a majority of Morningside residents surveyed were in favor of fixing the pool and not relocating it.

    Historic preservation is a good thing, as evidenced by the 35-year success of the Morningside Historic District, where you and I both live. Our neighborhood will be hosting and promoting another Historic Home Tour this year.

    Your third “Fact Check” is false. The pool does not block the shoreline. As I wrote above, the pool is set back 110 feet from Biscayne Bay. That’s plenty of room for the public to enjoy the waterfront behind the pool. There are BBQs and picnic tables there. If someone can’t see the bay it’s because they’re on the other side of the pool. (And the pool deck itself is an elevated platform for viewing the bay.)

    Even so, Morningside Park has 1,900 feet of shoreline. The pool complex is 340 feet long. That’s only 18%, not the third (33%) you wrote.

    But I’m glad you like the idea of families enjoying the park. That’s one of several reasons why the loop road should be kept as is.

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