Parents get a second chance: Survey planned on temporary kids playground in Belle Isle Park

Last Thursday night, neighborhood residents were invited to a meeting with Miami Beach Parks and Recreation staff to gauge support for temporarily moving the playground at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park to Belle Isle while Gibb Park is renovated.

The discussion, part of a regular Belle Isle Residents Association board meeting, was announced by email late Monday afternoon and posted on this blog the next day.

It wasn’t a lot of notice for parents, who usually put little ones to bed around that time. At the meeting, roughly 30 people attended, and those who spoke overwhelmingly opposed moving the playground termporarily to Belle Isle.

We blogged about what was said at the meeting, and many of your have commented — as has Scott Diffenderfer, residents of the residents association.

We thought it would be good to surface some of the comments in a fresh blog post so folks could catch up with the conversation.

Most importantly, we wanted to highlight that the the residents association plans to survey Belle Isle to get a more complete idea of what people think. Diffenderfer wrote:

“We are working on a survey to go out to a much larger group of residents than we reach through email to find out opinions on issues that affect our quality of life. In he meantime, please encourage your neighbors to forward their names and email addresses to us at BIRA@belleisleresidents.org.”

Several people who commented on the blog ost were offended by a remark made by one attendee who said having the playground in the park would attract sex offenders. People also complained it would be noisy and would draw more traffic.

Here are some of the responses:

The reason this was a resounding no was that the meeting was held at an inconvenient hour for parents who are bathing, feeding, and caring for their children at that time. There was a women who actually stated that Belle Isle is a classy place and putting a temporary playground there will ruin it…..but dogs and all their poop are cool, cause she loves dogs:) Can we get real!?!? There are two….TWO…enclosed parks for dogs at Belle Isle, but somehow a TEMPORARY park with, God forbid, children in it will totally mess up the ambiance. Equal rights for dogs and kids!

And sex offenders are alright too, as long as they stay near that other park 1 block away. Get your heads checked!

Now the issue of noise at the park….none of the toddlers I’ve seen are up much past the early bird special time, so I don’t think they’ll be throwing any wild parties in the park late night. This argument is absurd!

And parking…don’t get me started…oh wait, you already did. Have you tried parking there. IT. IS. IMPOSSIBLE. No one is driving to this park. Everyone that comes is walking.

Lastly, if there is no alternative location found, they will STILL come to Belle Isle simply because there is no where else within walking distance to go. But now, instead of just the Belle Isle kids and their nannies (and we all know how much everyone loves those nannies), the Sunset Harbor ones will come, too to take over all of the park benches….mostly the shaded one you wanted to sit on. Why wouldn’t we give them a separate, safe and enclosed space for 1 year to protect America’s future….again, it’s TEMPORARY and then you can go back to hating them.

Belle Isle is a wonderful place to live because of our sense of community. As a community, we need to coexist. Humans (yes, kids too) and pets alike. Today, in Belle Isle we have two parks for dogs, and zero enclosed parks for children. Parents need a safe place for children to run and play. If Maurice Gibb playground closes, that means that our closest playground will be a 1 hour stroller walk away (round trip to Flamingo park). This is nonsense. Please consider TEMPORARILY moving Maurice Gibb playground to Belle Isle.
Let’s start acting like a community of good neighbor’s that we are.
Keep in mind, this playground is not permanent. Additionally, remember that each one of you reading this was at one time in your life a child. Let our children be children, and let them enjoy the outdoors in a safe playground environment.

YourNeighbor

Sad to see such a negative response from Belle Isle Residents. What a wonderful community spirit! But let’s be clear, responses from 30 people is not exactly a basis for drawing any statistically Significant conclusions. It is simply a straw poll. I hope the Cof MB is a little more analytical When they make a decision on this.

dfkellett@gmail.com

I am appalled by the response to allow the temporary playground to be moved to Belle Island. I thought we are a community that helps one another in time of need not some gated older citizens retreat. Please be assured not all residents feel the some way as the ones quoted in your article. I for one would welcome all the children and the play ground equipment to share our wonderful park. There are many residents who may not able to attend some of there meetings . I think there must be another way to reach out to the community for the good of all our neighbors. Sincerely, Ellen Geyer 16 Island Avenue

goodegg1

I will say that people who are opposed to the playground are not necessarily anti-children but in favor of keeping Belle Isle a “passive” park. They are wary of construction in the park and more cars coming to the island. The dog park was advocated for many years ago by dog owners and was part of the master plan for the park. Many dog owners are also parents so this shouldn’t be a dog vs. children discussion. Thanks and please stay neighborly with each other!

Scott Diffenderfer

I would have to agree that I love that Belle Isle is a passive park and the convenience of having Maurice Gibb one block away is close enough…..but, it is going to be torn down, which leaves us parents in a huge predicament. Contrary to what a lot of people say, NO, we cannot just keep them locked in our apartments. Many of us are dog owners, but if you ask any of us with small children and dogs, we will all tell you that we need a playground more. 1000 times more. The children win every time.
No one is impervious to the fact that it would create some minor nuisances while it is being relocated, but to oppose it and hang all the parents on the island out to dry for an entire year is just so incredibly selfish. The inconvenience that the playground would bring pales in comparison to what the parents would face without it. If my only option is to take the kids to the passive park, I have to worry about them running into the street, allllllll the sex offenders they apparently attract, all the dog poop they can step in, no shade, the water fountain they can’t drink out of because people let their pets drink from (I know, I should bring a kiddie cup because the pet owners already called dibs on it 20 years ago when the park was built), and that “anti-children” people who take every opportunity to crush their spirits or huff and puff under their breath when a child actually uses the sidewalk they are on. It is better for everyone if we have separate spaces. I can’t stress that enough.
As for the survey, I appreciate you going to this distance if it is in fact a genuine attempt to seek the communities input. I’ve lived on Belle Isle for almost a decade now and have seen many completely biased and leading surveys go around. I hope that it is an impartial survey and questions are not along the lines of “do you feel an enormous eye sore playground, filled with screaming brats, on our tiny little island, with only 5 parking spots would be a good addition to the island?!” Excuse me for being a skeptic.

MB

6 responses to “Parents get a second chance: Survey planned on temporary kids playground in Belle Isle Park

  1. Terry Redmond

    As a full time parent and pet owner, I appreciate the need to be considerate and fair to our neighbors on the island, but being an island, space is cramped and property aesthetics are crucial to keep up at least for the common sense reason that chaotic looking properties breed crime. Unfortunately this is an urban fact, not myth.
    Children are just as important as pets, and pets are actually children to some people. So there should be no discrimination. Yes there are 2 dog parks, one for large canines and one for small, but if all the dogs were required to only use those spaces, there would be dog fights (as there already are) and no room to even pass through the gate safely. The bottom line is it’s a city park funded by government and tax payer property owners, and as long as citizens obey the dog leash law and be mindful of keeping to the far sides of the park where children don’t venture anyway, then co-harmony has a chance.
    A large construction zone of faux temporary playground would not be temporary, but leave a permanent scar and a drastic change of activity for the existing high rise luxury residences a few yards away. Congestion and safety hazards of children falling from playground equipment and drunken partiers monkeying around at night on the equipment is an frightening probability, and providing Homeless street folks to seek out shelter at night. Nothing is temporary.

  2. Belle Isle Park is a “passive” park, it was built and designed to be of that genre of parks. Passive parks do not include playing fields, croquet, basketball courts, playgrounds or tennis courts. Considering, even temporarily to change that intention to satisfy the needs of a very small percentage of residents with small children, and I do wonder what that percentage actually is, I am going to take a guess and say 2%, please correct me if that is inacurate, is quite contrary to good city planning.

    Belle Isle Park is one of the last remaining tranquil oasis in an otherwise over crowded and quickly becoming urban city. Many if not most of the people who purchased property on the island factored into their decision that their was a beautiful peaceful buffer zone between their residences and Venetian Way. Bringing an unsightly playground, (have you seen the condition and appearance of the playground equipment presently in Gibb Park?) is just a bad idea. Do they intend to just pull it all out and dump it all onto our green lawn without any design or landscape considerations? Yes, I think so. We are vehemently against it. Nothing against children but everything against bad urban planning. Once the playground is established in Belle Isle Park it will take years to encourage all the people to return to Gibb Park, the teenagers smoking weed, the vagrants. the winos, the things we moved to Belle Isle to avoid. Its just the way it is. In Manhattan, in San Francisco, Paris or Madrid. Miami Beach is no exception.

    Pat Laffin 11 Island Ave & 20 Island Ave

    On Mon, May 23, 2016 at 6:08 PM, Belle Isle Blog wrote:

    > belleisleblog posted: “Last Thursday night, neighborhood residents were > invited to a meeting with Miami Beach Parks and Recreation staff to gauge > support for temporarily moving the playground at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park > to Belle Isle while Gibb Park is renovated. The discu” > Respond to this post by replying above this line > New post on *Belle Isle Blog* > Parents get a > second chance: Survey planned on temporary kids playground in Belle > Isle Park > by > belleisleblog > > Last Thursday night, neighborhood residents were invited to a meeting with > Miami Beach Parks and Recreation staff to gauge support for temporarily > moving the playground at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park to Belle Isle while > Gibb Park is renovated. > > The discussion, part of a regular Belle Isle Residents Association board > meeting, was announced by email late Monday afternoon and posted on this > blog the next day. > > It wasn’t a lot of notice for parents, who usually put little ones to bed > around that time. At the meeting, roughly 30 people attended, and those who > spoke overwhelmingly opposed moving the playground termporarily to Belle > Isle. > > We blogged about what was said at the meeting, and many of your have > commented — as has Scott Diffenderfer, residents of the residents > association. > > We thought it would be good to surface some of the comments in a fresh > blog post so folks could catch up with the conversation. > > Most importantly, we wanted to highlight that the the residents > association plans to survey Belle Isle to get a more complete idea of wh

  3. The opinion of the majority is inconsequential if even one child gets hurt in the passive park by a dog attack or accidentally running into the street after a stray ball. Everyone knows these things happen in a split second. The safety of children should be paramount, but instead we are entertaining arguments that a big dog might bite a little dog, “ugly” playground equipment, and the terrible sound of children’s laughter between dawn and dusk. Shame on you.

  4. I’m curious if people who are against the moving of the playground notice the change in the demographics on Belle Isle and surrounding area. More and more people with little kids have been moving to the area for the convenience of living in a children-friendly area (i.e. a playground a block away). We’re the ones buying and renting. We are the ones increasing the property values by our growing demand. As much as you may not CARE for children’s needs in the area, I guess you would care about the impact of not having those families around as buyers/renters in the coming years. May I also remind everyone that some of the buildings will go under major construction in the next year? We need to keep our area as attractive to this demographic as much as possible.

    I find it insincere to be holding votes and surveys to get a majority vote in favor of moving the equipment temporarily – it only gives the APPEARANCE that you care. How do I know that this vote is fair and square when there is a clear bias in one direction? Clearly, families with children are not the majority, a great percentage, but not the majority. (By the way, whoever came up with the 2% number, I’m curious as to where they got that number). The same goes for the people with dogs though. They’re not the majority but they do have two dog parks to meet their needs. Gosh – we meet the needs of the small dogs god forbid they get into a fight with the big ones. When it comes to kids though you can have the audacity to say they’re not the majority. People with disabilities are not the majority, but we do think of their needs, don’t we? Would it be acceptable to close a wheelchair ramp and not come up with a solution for replacement? Kids of Belle Isle/Sunset Harbor need a SAFE and SHADED area that is within walking distance to play in during the construction and Belle Isle has the space for it.

    It’s also very interesting that people clearly have this false sense of security when they believe playgrounds breed crime and yet they live a block away from one and probably walk past it every day. Many of the commenters must not be spending much time in the Belle Isle Park since they are under the illusion that there is harmony in the park with the dogs and children. Most of the parents who speak up get in a daily fight with IRRESPONSIBLE dog owners who walk their dogs off-leash and don’t clean up after their dogs. Our children frequently step on poop. Please don’t mention co-harmony and neighborliness only when it works to your benefit.
    Gozde Karacaoglu – 9 Island

  5. Amen to MB’s statements. Hey Scott, so what is a “passive” park anyways? Is that the same thing as a “passive” campaign for commissioner? i.e. an abject failure?

    • Thank you for supporting my stance to protect the kids. My goal is to get everyone to be tolerant of each other and acknowledge our needs during the playground’s impending and temporary closure. I don’t want to pick on Scott, I want him to help us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s