This week’s question: What do you think is the best use for Museum Park in downtown Miami? Do you think it’s time for the city of Miami to turn the park over to a private nonprofit, as has been suggested?
We need to create a city that’s attractive to everyone, and part of an attractive city is vibrant park space for community use. That begins with our most prominent parks, which are along the waterfront in downtown. I would support any measure that helps preserve and improve these open green spaces, regardless of the entity that is in control.
Ramon Abadin, president, The Florida Bar, and partner, Sedgewick Law Firm
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I’m originally from Philadelphia, and I see the good work that these nonprofit groups can do when they have a focused mission as the Fairmont Park Commission and the Friends of Fairmount Park have. I would love to see that model replicated here.
Brian Brackeen, CEO, Kairos
With its green spaces, bayfront views and two world-class cultural facilities, Museum Park is one of downtown's most valuable community assets. It should be managed by the city’s Bayfront Park Management Trust, rather than a private nonprofit, to ensure that it remains a peaceful oasis amid the nearby office and residential towers and a wonderful lifestyle amenity for downtown residents and workers.
Carol Brooks, president and co-founder, CREC (Continental Real Estate Companies)
We are blessed with having a green space next to the water surrounded by exceptional facilities that will make this location a destination for not only visitors, but for our residents. Developing and providing our community with an outstanding and unique public park should not be about who should be running the park, but ensuring that whoever runs the park is held accountable for ensuring that it is protected for the public purpose for which it was intended.
Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, president, St. Thomas University
Private nonprofits are geared to maximize efficiencies and optimize operations. I think the city of Miami should turn Museum Park over to a nonprofit, as long as the organization proves that it is worthy of running that entity. Performance metrics should be used to gauge success. The citizens of Miami-Dade County deserve the very best.
Nabil El Sanadi, CEO/president, Broward Health
Our hotel is at the doorstep to Miami, right alongside Bayfront Park, so I believe that great waterfront parks are important to our downtown. I also believe we need to achieve the right balance by bringing in events that drive our downtown economy. In my opinion, having Museum Park funding sourced by a private nonprofit can achieve both these goals while putting available city resources toward accelerating solutions for our infrastructure challenges, which is a high priority.
Robert Hill, general manager, InterContinental Miami
Like any public park, Museum Park should be looked at as an outdoor attraction that will appeal to visitors and locals alike, and in order to do so, I do think it needs help in the beautification department. If that means turning it over to a nonprofit that will be responsible for raising money and maintaining the land as a “world-class park,” then I am all for it. With PAMM (Perez Art Museum Miami) and Frost Science as the park’s neighbors, and Adrienne Arsht Center just a few short blocks away, it is absolutely necessary that Museum Park live up to the same caliber as a quality South Florida destination.
Miriam Lopez, president/chief lending officer, Marquis Bank
Any time that private enterprise can help to build the aspect of community, it’s worth exploring those ideas, especially when the public at large can benefit. Part of the “magic” of Miami is having public spaces that give everyone access to an area on some level. The more attractive and inspiring these public spaces can be, both for residents and visitors, the more a city like Miami enhances its reputation as an international destination.
Mike Parra, CEO, DHL Express U.S.
The City of Miami has a huge opportunity to give its residents a mini Central Park. City officials should consider a public-private partnership as a way to move things forward and also give downtown and surrounding area residents an opportunity to take ownership and responsibility of the park. Museum Park has the potential to serve as a centerpiece of Downtown Miami and a destination for others who are spending time visiting PAMM, the Frost Art Museums and the Adrienne Arsht Center.
M. John Richard, president, CEO, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
The site where the Museum Park is located should be a focal point for our city, a place where both residents and visitors can enjoy. What the city has done is a good start, but it would be beneficial to have it turned over to an organization that is singularly focused on this endeavor. There are several successful examples of turning over parks to private nonprofits — the Central Park Conservancy in New York City and the Millennium Park in Chicago. This downtown area encompasses other cultural institutions including the Frost Museum of Science, the Perez Art Museum Miami and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. A signature park is going to be great support for our community and the surrounding cultural hub.
Rachel Sapoznik, president, CEO, Sapoznik Insurance & Associates, LLC
I’m in favor of privatizing the park. It hasn’t been well run by the city or properly developed. It’s a gorgeous piece of land along the bay and has the potential to be in the same league as Millennium Park in Chicago or Central Park in Manhattan. I envision shaded running trails, benches for reflection, a vita course and an open area for dogs like we have at Millennium Park on Miami Beach. The dog park can be a beautiful place for a community of neighbors and dog owners to meet, converse and bond.
Ginny Simon, founder, CEO, ginnybakes