This month, our fellow Miamians are providing three more ways to enjoy our public spaces. You can grab your roller skates for a fun night in Downtown, visit a 1.2 mile loop of community gardens or enjoy the lights as they illuminate what supporters hope will ultimately be a 10 mile linear park along US 1.
Each of these projects is activating public spaces – often hidden in plain site, like sidewalks, or the Mildred and Claude Pepper Fountain at Bayfront Park – with funding from The Miami Foundation’s Public Space Challenge.
Here’s a little bit about each project:
Lighting Up the Underline
This weekend, if you’re driving home at night along US 1, you’ll find a light show greeting you just beneath the Vizcaya Station. Friends of the Underline, who want to transform the space beneath the rail into an urban park and trail, are lighting up an area just to give us all a hint of “how magical the 10 miles could be,” said organizer Meg Daly.
The lights will be up Feb. 14- 21, in pink and red first for Valentines Day, then changing to yellow, blue and green. If you go by from 10 a.m. to noon on Valentines Day, volunteers will be handing out chocolates and goodies. The event culminates a week later, when visitors can go to the nearby Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science to see an interactive exhibit on the Underline.
Daly hopes the lights pique everyone’s curiosity. This spring, the Underline will ask the public for ideas on what should go into the trail. Feedback from a series of public meetings will inform the design. (Stay tuned for more info.)
Roller Skating by the Bay
There are a few ways to enjoy that Old School Funk, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than joining Bay Skate Miami, which will turn the Mildred and Claude Pepper Fountain at Bayfront Park into a skating rink for one, free night on Feb. 26.
Classic Hip Hop Legend Da Real Monie Love will MC the event and will be providing the funk, soul and other skating classics for the crowds, along with a host of local DJs. The folks at Super Wheels in Kendall will offer skate rentals and the local businesses like COYO Taco, Sakaya Kitchen/Black Brick and Wynwood Brewing Co. will offer food and drinks.
“This is really a thank you to the community,” said Alex Macias, the 2014 Challenge winner who with his brother Marcos runs the creative content and brand development agency Macias Advertising.
The event includes an all ages skate from 5 to 7 p.m., with adults only from 7:30 to 11 p.m.
Learn more on their Facebook page.
Connecting neighbors in Northeast Dade
Along a 1.2 mile stretch in Northeast Dade, a group of homeowners have come together to build a string of gardens for their community to enjoy.
So far, seven homes have lent their front yards to the cause – participating in communal plantings of cucumbers, onions, kale and more – so that anyone in the area can drop by and partake. Twice weekly this month, they will be planting and maintaining the gardens. One neighbor, who is a master gardener, helps provide consult and tips.
Last fall, La Paloma held a community-wide harvest, complete with a salad bar. This March, they will complement their harvest with a Caribbean carnival, reflecting the area’s many Haitian-American residents. Next, they are working on putting recipe cards in each garden, with cooking ideas in English, Spanish and Creole.
“When people come by and see neighbors outside working on the garden, they say, ‘oh I want to garden.’ We want to spread the idea that people can do this too, so people eat healthier and don’t spend as much money on food,” said Celeste Fraser Delgado, a Barry University professor and arts writer who applied for and won the Public Space Challenge grant.
If you’d like to see the gardens, take a stroll between Northeast 115th and 118th Streets between Northeast and Northwest Second Avenues.
Join us as we kickoff the 2015 Public Space Challenge on March 4. See more information below, click here to RSVP.