Letters to the Editor

Museum Park: Our Central Park

Signature downtown parks across the country are recognized for helping establish distinctive identities for their cities and generating substantial civic, economic and fiscal value.

New York’s Central Park, an iconic destination and world-renowned public space, is just one of many across the country. Everyone can enjoy it for a run, picnic, concerts or the scenery. Providing Central Park’s quality year-round services and programs as well its operations and maintenance requires significant financial investment — in this case provided by the nonprofit organization, Central Park Conservancy.

Miami has the opportunity to transform Museum Park into its own Central Park, realizing a long-held vision of a world-class downtown gathering space with the aid of the new Museum Park Conservancy. The Conservancy will be a collaborative partnership to enhance Museum Park, ensure its livelihood and develop quality programming.

In the last 25 years, conservancies have become a preferred means for guiding the development and transformation of new downtown urban parks. As the City Parks Alliance has studied, these downtown parks anchor neighborhoods and become destinations for visitors and residents. Conservancies help fill the gaps in public park agency budgets by providing added management and programming functions. Most importantly conservancies are well-positioned to be entrepreneurial fundraisers securing a wide variety of private and public funding sources.

As demand for urban recreational space grows, we need to get smarter about leveraging both public and private support to keep our country’s urban parks healthy.

Though a vote on the item has been deferred, I urge Miami commissioners to support the Museum Park Conservancy so Miami can have the signature park it deserves.

Kathy Blaha, co-chair, board of directors, City Parks Alliance, Miami Beach