City planners have produced a preliminary concept for the park that would replace the nine-hole, par-3 golf course in the Bayshore neighborhood.
The commission voted last year to convert thegolf course, bounded by Miami Beach Senior High to the south, 28th Street to the north, Prairie Avenue to the west and Pine Tree Drive to the east, into a passive park.
City administrators decided to let some of the city’s planning staff take a crack at coming up with a design. At last week’s City Commission meeting, planning director Thomas Mooney commended the team of three city planners who worked on the concept: Rogelio Madan, Alejandro Garavito and Daniella Bonilla.
“Under the direction of the city manager, my staff undertook a project to take a fresh look at what is currently the old par-3 golf course in the Bayshore neighborhood,” he said.
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To be called Banyan Tree Park for the large trees that lie on the northern edge of the property, the 19.4-acre site would include a dog park, tennis courts, yoga garden, butterfly garden, and a small lake and wetlands area with a boardwalk around it.
City Commissioners were impressed when they saw the results last week.
“I think this is the best presentation I’ve seen, the most thoughtful presentation I’ve seen, in the seven years I’ve been here for parks,” Commissioner Ed Tobin said.
Commissioner Micky Steinberg suggested the team should consider parking spots around the park to avoid visitors parking on swales or in front of neighboring homes. The planners said they could work perimeter parking into the design.
The concept is a preliminary step in coming up with a master plan for the park, and the planners will work with the city’s parks and capital improvement departments to refine these ideas.
According to the planning department, there is no cost estimate yet attached to the design, and no overtime or additional compensation for the planning staff was required to complete the drawings.
Some Bayshore residents have opposed the park idea in the past, instead favoring a renovation of the golf course. The par-3 has been at the center of at least two lawsuits against the city during the last 25 years. Both were settled.
Alexander Podrizki, neighbor and board member of the Bayshore Homeowners Association, told the Miami Herald a park would actually be a better fit for the neighborhood.
“Personally, I think it will be good to have a passive park,” he said. “It will be more useful to the neighbors than it has been until now. Most of the neighbors I have spoken to feel the same way.”
City Manager Jimmy Morales told commissioners city staff would look at how to push the concept forward.
“We’ll come back next meeting with a proposal for how to take it to the next step,” he said.