December 10, 2013 Miami, FL – Grand Central Park, the nation’s largest temporary park and only skatepark in Miami, located ton the site of the Old Miami Arena, will permanently close December 31, 2013 according to an agreement essay reached between Old Arena, LLC, (a subsidiary of the Miami World Center Group (www.miamiworldcenter.com )), and the Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association (OPRA), managers of Grand Central Park.
Old Arena LLC had previously filed an eviction suit August 9, which jeopardized the already short lifespan of the Park, which currently hold the lease on the property until October 2014.
“We turned a heap of rocks into a great park with the help of a lot of amazing people in Miami. said Mark Lesniak,Executive Director of the Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association Inc., the a Florida non-profit corporation that built and manages the park. “It enjoyed a good run, brought a lot of attention to the neighborhood, and hopefully inspired a few people along the way.” said Mark Lesniak, Executive Director of the Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association Inc., the Florida non-profit corporation that built and manages the park. “Unfortunately, at this point the only decision that makes sense financially is to close.”
Grand Central Park opened in January 2012 as a 5-acre temporary park built at the site of the old Miami Arena. The Park utilized over 100 cubic yards of debris from the arena’s demolition, planted more than 250 native species of trees and installed more than 2 acres of grass to green the abandoned demolition site. The site has been used as a community recreation area, festivals and concert venue, local dog park. Recently, OPRA and the local skate boarding community partnered to build a DIY skate park at the site (currently the only skate park in the Miami area). The Park creators estimate that they have leveraged $12 million of positive economic impact to the community out of the $200,000 grant it received from the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Miami.
Bradley Knoefler, founder of the Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association, said “It is sad to see the Park, a catalyst for so much community activity over the past few years, return to vacant land,” but he is satisfied with the overall project, which always had a finite lifespan since its initial inception. “We’ve accomplished an amazing amount over the past few years for a small volunteer community group.” He said, “The most important this is that we demonstrated implementation and concrete result. Now its time for others to take the baton and start providing safe community gathering spots and park spaces for Miami’s residents.”
The community is still hopeful that at least the skate park or a portion of it can be relocated to a nearby location. Alternatives include other parking lots, FDOT property under I-395 and other locations.
For questions and further information, please visit www.grandcentralpark.org or contact Bradley Knoefler at305.527.7332 or [email protected]
Grand Central Park is a public / private joint venture created by O.P.R.A., a community-based not-for-profit group, founded by Bradley Knoefler in 2009, that focuses on progressive, low-cost urban renewal projects. The Park was designed by Walter Meyer, of Local Office Landscape, a Landscape Architecture firm located in Brooklyn, New York and is located on nearly 5 acres of a formerly blighted parcel in Downtown Miami, where the Miami Arena once stood. Grand Central Park has vastly improved the neighborhood for a minimal cost and provides needed recreational space and community activation for the thousands of new Downtown Miami residents. The recently constructed Grand Central Skate Spot has changed the lives of hundreds of children in Miami and beyond. The park has always been temporary in nature since it was constructed in 2011, planning to exist for a minimum period of 3 years, while the final status of the site is determined.