Wednesday, April 08, 2009

South Pointe Park UPDATE

Miami Herald photo by PATRICK FARRELL

The day after the new South Pointe Park on South Beach opened I posted a comment made by a Miami Beach police officer about the park possibly attracting vandals and homeless people.

I wrote a note to Hilda Fernandez, Miami Beach Assistant City Manager asking what steps the city was taking to prevent the park from falling victim to graffiti taggers and hordes of homeless campers.

Today she responded:
Prior to the opening of South Pointe Park, and as customary for the opening of any new city park, City staff developed an operating plan that encompasses everything from security, park rules, sanitation, parking, maintenance, programming, homeless prevention, graffiti remediation, etc.

As part of the development of the operating plan, staff from Parks, Parking, Public Works/Sanitation, Public Works/Property Maintenance, Homeless Coordination, Code Compliance, Police, Public Works/Environmental, Planning, Asset Management, and Fire/Ocean Rescue met on-site to walk the park and physically observe the unique characteristics of the park, and ensure that the operating plan included the approach to address any potential issues.

(One example was identifying the lack of deterrents for skateboarders to use the benches and portions of the cutwalk for “grinding.” As a result of the walk-through, metal tabs were added to the benches to prevent this from occurring).

Operating issues addressed in the plan included, among others, homeless outreach, security to enforce prohibited activities, park hours, and the extent of programming at the park.

The proposed operating plan was presented to the City Commission’s Neighborhoods/Community Affairs Committee for their review and direction, and is undergoing further revisions in response to their input.

At present, security staffing has been scheduled in a manner to ensure maximum coverage in the evening hours. Daytime security services are supplemented by the on-site Parks staff, while Code Compliance staff is monitoring the park as part of their route.

Police has included drive-bys in their operational plan, and our Homeless Coordination Office is monitoring the park to ensure that no homeless encampments/sleeping areas are created.

We have not had any issues in the short time the park has been open, but know that consistent monitoring is essential to ensure that these issues do not crop up.

Thank you for your interest in this park. I hope you have been able to go in the evening, as the lights look remarkable.

Sounds like everything is under control!

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