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Thursday, December 27, 2012


    It's been a while since I've done my end-of-the-year Coconut Grove review.  Now, in words and pictures, I'll catch up for the last couple of years.
  For starters, isn't it amazing that we now have to wear sunglasses at night?

 2012's Worst Choice of Streetlights-   Earlier this month the City of Miami ripped out the downtown Grove's signature gas streetlights and replaced them with eye-searing super-bright monsters.  
   There was no public discussion. It just happened.

Best New City Service -  The city's new big blue bin recycling program. We can now recycle everything.

 Best Public Outhouses- Several years ago the City of Miami erected these colorful bathrooms on downtown sidewalks.  Again, ther was no public discussion.  These too "popped up".  The City called them "information booths". 
The three useless structures cost $62,000 each and have been empty 99% of the time.  There are often puddles of urine behind this one.

2012's Best Way to Save Lives- Installing crosswalks, with signs, on Main Highway.  

 Best Example of Government Ineptitude-  The City, County, and State's failure to lead us out of the Coconut Grove Playhouse mess.  Closed for years, it was once our village's shining star.
  Fix it up, tear it down, who cares anymore?

 Good examples of outstanding Grove architecture that endure,

Plymouth Congregational Church

 Some of our fancier residences
 and the Grove-y simple cottages
 2012's Best Way to Cause an Accident-  Park your car in the middle of Main Highway.  Just before I took this, there were two police cruisers parked side-by-side.
Best Way to Screw Up  a Bayside Park-  Erect a wall of trees and bushes so you can't see Biscayne Bay.   
   They did to Peacock Park thirty years ago.  City officials admit it was a terrible mistake and and say there is nothing they can do about it.  
Miami is the only place I know,with parks on the water, that has managed to get this wrong.

 Somehow, next to Peacock Park, the Coconut Grove Sailing Club got it right. It has managed to balance their mangrove wall with a water view.

 Best Place to Walk Your Kids on a Leash-
Peacock Park.  If they should break free the Wall of Trees may keep them from the water's edge.

 Best Grove Gathering-  The Drum Circle that meets regularly.  Here they are beating the skins on Christmas Day.

Worst Use of a Public Building-  The Glass House was built 30 years ago to be a community center in Peacock Park.  We used to enjoy art and recreational programs.  Twenty years ago the City of Miami decided to convert it into offices for itself and a chamber of commerce.
Every year there are efforts to make the building, and the park, something we can all enjoy again.
All have failed.

 Stupidest Place to Put a Collection of Cheap Gym Equipment-  A few years ago the City was apparently given a truckload of metal that moves.
   In 2011 the City tried to put this junk in Merrie Christmas Park.  When irate neighbors roared in disapproval the City put it back in storage.

A year ago they snuck it into Ken Meyers Bayside Park.  There was no one around to fight it.  Most of the condo dwellers nearby were away for the season and sadly, Mr. Meyers is no longer with us.  A few years ago the former legislator died while reaching for a mango from his roof top.

I guess I should add that you can't see the bay from Ken's bayside park either...

Or, from Kennedy Park, on the bay, a half mile north. 
It is absolutely crazy to put a wall of anything between the public and the water in  bayside parks. 
 There are more 2012 superlatives. I will add the rest manana.
  The Grove Guy hopes there will be more "positives" in the coming year.

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