Miami Dade County Community Forum

Monday, August 10, 2009

Some Questions about the Miami Circle Ground Breaking by Fran Bohnsack

A fellow UEL Board Member recently drew our attention to the proposed site for the Miami Circle, pointing out that it seems a bit light on trees. I thought maybe that was because of the sensitivity of the site, but now I think the issue may be money; the state doesn't have enough of it and the Miami Circle is on a budget. I noticed something else, too. The advertisement credits the Historical Museum of South Florida for making the circle site happen, when in reality there were lots of helpful partners involved -- not to mention that UEL was a founding advocate from day one! Katy Sorenson, too.

I've sat through many meetings of the Miami River Commission discussing the Miami Circle. The MRC played a leadership role in getting the state to step up to their responsibilities when the sea wall was collapsing. And the Florida Inland Navigational District's local Commissioner helped cut a lot of red tape and contributed funds to save the site. Even the Downtown Development Authority helped. There were many others who also participated -- they should all be given credit for their important efforts as well! Let's give credit where credit is due.

As to the trees . . . what do you think, readers?

My idea was that this site is fragile and doesn't really want very much traffic. People should be able to see it and appreciate it without necessarily hanging out there the way you might at a park. With so many residents around and such little park space available, I could easily see it becoming the neighborhood dog run if it's design was too comfortable (and I am a doggy fan). It's also sacred to some folks, so keeping it meditative suggests attracting the few rather than the many. And my last thought on the limited canopy is that the area is so crowded with high-rises that seeing this small swath of green grass is like discovering a jewel in a surprising place -- breathtaking!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I too have enjoyed your blog and the contributions that the UEL makes. In response to your comment regarding the revegetation of the site, I would suggest that an admirable goal would be to attempt to bring the site back to it's original vegetative state, i.e. a coastal ridge hammock (Simpson Park or Alice Wainwright Park are too remaining examples). Your comment regarding the open green space is appreciated. I too love an open expanse leading down to the waters edge. The Brickell Park adjacent to the Icon has a nice grass area unfortunately though it is just a sliver of a park. I agree that there is far too little open space near the water but the current plan leaves the site a bit barren with it's token trees lining the pathways. I recently returned from a trip with my kids to Gainesville and a visit to the UF Museum of Natural History where we saw some excellent examples of full-sized dioramas of early Calusa Indian settlements complete with structures and vegetation, etc... It was a great window into this period of our State's history. I would love to see the Miami Circle set within a hammock setting with pathways leading from the clearing down to the waters edge where mangroves and other coastal plants have been reintroduced. As regards budget limitations, plant the trees (immature and less costly) and they will grow. We are blessed with an almost year-long growing season. I have planted numerous natives over the years and am thrilled to see the rate of growth year after year. The revegetation of Bill Baggs State Park (replanted with native, indigenous plants and trees after Hurricane Andrew in 1992) is a perfect example of what you can recreate over time. Just my thoughts on the topic. I'd love to discuss it at greater length if anyone is interested.

  3. I vividly recall that the Historical Museum wanted to cut the Miami circle out and place it in their museum back in 1999 or keep the apt building alive and keep the Circle in their basement. They had no sense of duty to history or grit to stand up for the integrity of this archaeological site and now they get to be its champion? That's history for you! They also tried to take over a large chunk of Simpson Park in the late 1950s for their own new building. Stealing parks for museums is nothing new. It makes one kind of cynical about "non profits"

  4. Wow. Who knew?