Thursday, October 14, 2004
That's Just Wrong: Park Problem
It's a piece of South Florida history right in the middle of a miami beach neighborhood -- a monument built over a sewer pumping station. But tonight, there's a real stink...Not because of the sewer, but because the monument has become an eyesore. And neighbors say that's just wrong.
(WSVN) -- Before the glitz and glam of South Beach, before the highrises along Collins Avenue.
Miami Beach was a coconut farm.
But that all changed in the 1920's, roads were built, infrastructure like sewer systems were put in place.
And on December 4, 1926 -- A monument or obelisk - as some call it - was built above a sewer pumping station.
That was then, this is now.
Ed Somers: "The parks department the city has just let it fall apart."
Joe Estrada: "What I see here is a lot of trash and it seems to be abandoned by the city. There's no type of maintenance on the grounds here."
Neighbors say that's just wrong.
For as long as they can remember, the 50 foot high monument has been falling apart.
Rusted fountains, broken steps, chipped concrete and a beat up fascade are all part of the problem.
Even a fence meant to keep people out is in bad condition.
Ed Somers: "This is just wrong for our neighborhood. It's really a shame that the city has not maintained this and developed this as a park."
Joe Estrada: "What's wrong is that it's just being neglected by the city, and they know that the monument's here."
Now, many people who live around here claim several years ago the city promised to clean up the site and build a park in its place.
City leaders however say the area was never meant to be a park -- just a greenspace over a sewer station.
Thomas Mooney from the City of Miami Beach Planning Department: "There's every intention to maintain, preserve and restore the historic obelisk."
City leaders are in the process of having the monument designated historic.
The process only slowed down by a lack of funds.
Thomas Mooney: "The money is what's slowing down the restoration of the obelisk. As soon as the city either has grants or the funding to restore the obelisk."
For now, the monument is being designated an active construction site - meaning it is supposed to be off limits.
But neighbors believe you cannot limit their hopes and dreams. They think the area can one day look like other restored parts of Miami Beach.
Joe Estrada: "I think it would be a great area not only for the people that live in the apartments here, but for people who live across the street on Pine Tree."
Ed Somers: "I'd love to be able to come over here and enjoy this space."
City leaders say their main priority is to complete a new sewer pumping station by the end of next year. They still don't have a time frame for the restoration of the monument.
For more information and story ideas:
Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org