Midtown

Shorecrest activist wants local attention from commissioner

Jack Spirk, the outgoing president of the Shorecrest Homeowner’s Association and longtime activist, feels that none of the new candidates for District 2 city commissioner are bringing anything noticeable to the table.

Spirk said he has “checked everybody’s websites out,” and hasn’t seen anything that would keep him from supporting incumbent commissioner Marc Sarnoff.

“He has a lot of enemies, and people are always ready to dig in, but my relationship has been very good,” Spirk said. “It’s been very positive.”

But whether Sarnoff remains in office, or the seat goes to one of the opposing candidates, Spirk knows what he wants the November election winner to focus on.

Spirk began his activism working for gay rights as the vice president for the South Beach Business Guild, which is now the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. When he moved to Miami from the beach, Spirk “kind of put the gay issues aside” to start working with the homeowners and the city.

Here are Spirk’s five primary concerns for his District 2 neighbors.

1. The Little River Club litigation must come to a conclusion.

The right to park in the lot behind the Little River Club, a meetinghouse for anonymous recovery groups, is in a tug-or-war between the club’s operators and the Miami City Commission. Prompted by residence complaint’s that live near the club, the commission denied club-goers the right to park in the lot. An operator of the club then filed a law suit to reverse this decision.

Spirk wants to see a resolution to this ongoing process.  He said that contrary to what some may think, he doesn’t want the club to be closed down. But he does want an end to the speeding cars and reported disruptive activity happening at night.

Sarnoff has been an ally, Spirk said, in hearing the residents concerns about the club.

2. Little River Manatee Bay Park needs to be available for public use.

Not long ago, Spirk remembers, the 1.2 acre waterfront land by the Little River near NE 79th Streetwas overgrown and unattractive. The park has since been cleared, and residents are now working on cleaning the water.

“The best scenario is either the city or the county purchases the property and makes it into a park,” Spirk said.

He said supporters of park “coming to the table” are: Marc Sarnoff, Mayor Tomas Regalado, County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Spencer Crowley, Florida Inland Navigation District and a waterfront land use attorney, and the South Florida Water Manangement District.

“So everything is kind of falling in place and everybody is interested in seeing this happen, but it’s an ongoing process.

3. Capital Improvement Projects to upgrade more areas.

Sprik is adamant that projects must be organized to improve deteriorated infrastructure. He said that some residents have “fought to take back their street” in a contributed article.

“Mark [Sarnoff] has been very instrumental in having a number of capital improvement projects scheduled to be taking place in our neighborhood,” Spirk said.A project Spirk wants to see completed in Shorecrest is for all the streets to be  repaved, which he said hasn’t been done in “many years.” He added that there are a few streets with substandard housing on NE 86th that need attention, along with pavement, lighting and landscaping improvements in general.

4. The MIMO district should be extended from NE 77th to NE 87th.

Spirk has been pushing for the Miami Modern district’s integrity to be preserved, which he said is possible if the district ended with Miami’s city limits and not ten blocks earlier.

“Unfortunately, it hasn’t been that logical. There’s been a number that have been opposed,” Spirk said, referring to those who question if there are enough buildings that need to be preserved.

Spirk thinks the district’s boundaries will be stretched, especially as election time approaches, as he has worked with Sarnoff on this issue as well.

“I came from Philadelphia and preservation has only been very important to us,” Spirk said. “It’s unfortunate that Miami in general, they really don’t have a respect for preservation.”

5. Panhandling should be regulated.

It’s a personal pet peeve of Spirk’s.

“Not only is it irritating with panhandlers because you’re on your way to work and these people want a free hand out, and they’re not homeless people, but I think it’s really dangerous,” Spirk said. “I think it’s a safety issue.”

He said he has brought attention to the commissioner’s office about a successful panhandling ordinance in Pinellas County in St. Petersburg, Fla, where Spirk has a condo. He wants an ordinance here that restricts anyone from being in the street, including to sell merchandise like bottled water to cars.

But the ordinance is directed at panhandlers.

“It’s been the same people over 10 years since I’ve moved here,” Spirk said. “They’re all really basically drug addicts.”

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