"The Polar Express" was shown in Regatta Park Friday night. They couldn't have the movie in Peacock Park, the Grove's usual outdoor venue.
No one likes to sit in mud.
This fall Coconut Grove's central park has been severely damaged by poor management and greedy promoters. Two months ago our 8-acres on the bay was lush and green. People were using it for baseball, kite-flying, and soccer.
Then, "the season" started and a series of commercial events turned our village green brown.
Uncaring promoters fenced it, ran their heavy trucks through it, and invited thousands of people to stomp the lawn to death. The heat of a parked vehicle engines created patches of burned grass.
Why does the city allow promoters to do this? In just eight days Peacock Park suffered the beer-swilling "Grovetoberfest" (Oct. 17), a seafood festival (October 18) and a pumpkin festival (October 24-25). These heavily-promoted, crowded gatherings ripped up and killed the lawn.
Peacock Park's field is now off limits. The only healthy grass is a thin rim running around the perimeter.
You will not see anyone playing kickball, soccer, or baseball there. The City of Miami's parks director, Kevin Kerwin, has declared the field closed. He plans to re-sod the park and open it again in January.
Who will pay for that? Who will pay for the lost revenue from legitimate groups using the park?
Commercial events should not be allowed on our village green. Put them elsewhere, in a fairground or parking lot. The Grove's Peacock, Kennedy, and Regatta Park are not "fair grounds". They should be free of truck traffic and open to the public every day of year.
The Grove's business improvement district ("The BID") supports these events because they cause thousands of people to buy beer and pumpkins in the Grove's central park. So what? Their spending does not trickle west to the Grove's business district. Have you ever seen anyone eating at Greenstreet's with a newly purchased pumpkin?
These events only earn a city fee while putting the big money in promoters' pockets as they fence off and tear up our park.
The pictures you see here were taken ten days ago, before the week of rain and six weeks after the last Peacock event. Would you want to fly your kite there? And more seriously, is this any way to run a park?
Miami can do this better. We have a new city commissioner and a new parks director. Both seem keen on improving the way the Grove's parks are managed. Representatives of The Friends of Peacock Park and Grove 2030 will meet with city park officials on Thursday.
Hopefully they will come up with ideas to make Peacock Park the gem it should be. In six weeks the new grass will be installed and ready for the public to enjoy again. Unfortunately, two weeks later fences and tents will go up as trucks roll over the fresh, fragile lawn for the the Grove's mega art festival.
It's too late to stop that. Hopefully, a year from now all of the pumpkin, beer and art festivals will be sent elsewhere. Maybe Peacock can be a park again.