Brickell Activists Urge City To Not Dilute Name
By Deserae del Campo
A bid to extend the Brickell Avenue name north of the Miami River is under pressure as opponents try to protect the gold-plated Brickell brand and historic accuracy.
City commissioners deferred a vote last week to rename two downtown blocks of Southeast Second Avenue after a commissioner caught in the middle asked for time to think.
"This is a difficult position I’m in," said Johnny Winton, who represents Brickell, "because no matter what I do, I lose."
"I have friends in the audience that are on opposite sides of the fence today," he said. "It’s my job to try and do the right thing. I move to defer this issue until the next commission meeting," scheduled for April 6.
Brickell Area Association member Megan Kelly asked commissioners in an e-mail to reject a name change.
"We represent the businesses and residents who have a real investment in the Brickell brand," Ms. Kelly said, "and we do not support extending the name north of the natural and historic boundary of the Miami River."
It’s important to protect the upscale Brickell image and its boundaries, Barbara Beaudry, area association board member and Brickell Key resident, told commissioners.
"It is inauthentic using the name Brickell as a device that would be helpful in a commercial endeavor, and it’s very shallow," Ms. Beaudry said. "We have got to respect our history. If you look at the history of Brickell, everything happened south of the Miami River. We should be adding to our history, not taking away. To carry the name Brickell north of the river is inauthentic."
In 1870, Mary and William Brickell settled south of the river and opened a trading post. In 1911, they laid out wide, beautiful Brickell Avenue, said historian Arva Moore Parks. It was Julia Tuttle on the river’s north side who persuaded Henry Flagler to bring his railroad to Miami, fueling the city’s growth.
"To extend the Brickell name is disrespectful to Mary Brickell and Julia Tuttle and disrespectful to our history," Ms. Parks said Tuesday. "When Henry Flagler started creating north of the river with Julia Tuttle, Mary and William Brickell refused to cross the river because they felt Henry Flagler was using all his energy on the north bank. Neither Julia Tuttle nor Mary Brickell would have liked this at all."
"Needless to say, I’m pleased the issue was deferred until April," said Hal Martell, area association president, "and we will be present for that meeting."
The city agenda item said Brickell is a recognized name that would "provide a link between the important corporate and financial areas on both sides of the Miami River."
Developer Armando Codina supported a new Brickell leg, citing development north of the river. "I am very much in favor of this extension," he told commissioners.
"Our job is to pursue, defend, enhance and promote Brickell and its quality of life," Mr. Martell said. "We are dedicated to doing this because we live and work here. It’s a fault to ride the success of the Brickell brand. Essentially, it’s just an artificial extension of the name." Advertisement