As a life-long-Miamian, I remember being driven down South Miami Avenue as a child each year to see the poinciana trees in bloom. The poinciana-draped street was featured on postcards and prompted the Poinciana Festival that was held each May. I have a wonderful memory of my sister, Pat, being selected a Poinciana Princess in 1949.
I moved to South Miami Avenue in 1989 and was disappointed that the poinciana trees barely bloomed. Thanks to the advice of then-Kampong Director Larry Schokman, we learned that the trees did not bloom because highway-style “Cobra” lights loomed above the canopy and compromised trees’ blooming cycle.
The South Miami Avenue Homeowners Association took on the task of correcting the situation. First, then-Commissioner Joe Sanchez allocated funds to change the lights, remove dead trees and plant new ones. When Commissioner Marc Sarnoff became the district’s representative, he became the street’s champion and followed up with funds to complete the work.
I hope all Miamians will drive down South Miami Avenue in the next few weeks and see what a difference supportive public officials can make. The new street lights not only are appropriate for the historic street, but because they are beneath the canopy, the trees are making a remarkable comeback. Everyone should thank local activists and Miami leaders for bringing back this local treasure.
Arva Moore Parks, Miami