Map: Parcel B, highlighted in red, is almost in the center of the proposed Baywalk path (blue line) and is even closer to being in the center of the entire Core.
As per the 2004 PPS report, there are several propositions for this excellently situated parcel’s use:
- Restaurants such as an outdoor bar and grill
- An outdoor market, farmer’s market, or collector’s market
- Soccer field
- Bait and tackle shop for nearby marinas
- Dancing Ballroom
- An open area for T.V. events
- Science Museum Wildlife facility
- Recreational activities pavilion
- Bay of Pigs Museum
I like none of them. Whatever goes on Parcel B needs to be alluring to residents, visitors, and tourists. It should boost civic pride, appeal to the public, and be a natural extension of the Baywalk. The Bay of Pigs Museum only appeals to a limited segment of the community and although deserving of a memorial, doesn’t merit parcel B as its location. The other ideas are too plain or trite.
So then, what should go on Parcel B? How about an open air plaza or square? This isn’t a new idea. It’s been circulating for sometime, but remains largely overlooked.
Sure its simple, but before you dismiss it, consider these points:
- We don’t have a plaza or open square in the whole Core
- Outdoor sculptures and art can be readily displayed
- It has good linkage to pedestrians via Biscayne Boulevard, the proposed Baywalk, Bayside Marketplace, American Airlines Arena, and the proposed Museum Park
- It’s an ideal location for an iconic monument
- It’d be a great centerpiece for the whole Baywalk and serve as a natural extension of it
- It wouldn’t block the view of the American Airlines Arena
- Urban plazas are typically situated in the center of the City. Parcel B is smack dab in the center of the Core’s three main segments.
- The area of parcel B is generally smaller, but comparable in size to other notable plazas and open squares including (I used Google Earth’s measurement tool):
- Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
- St. Marks Square, Venice, Italy
- Plaza Maria Pita, A Coruna, Spain
- Troickaia Square, St. Petersburg, Russia
- Of the nine proposed uses listed in the beginning of this post, at least three of them could be incorporated in to the plans for an open square (1, 2, and 6).
- Having art installations or sculptures would coincide perfectly with the Art in Public spaces initiative promoted at the County and municipal level
- Its rather inexpensive to construct and incorporate into the Baywalk
I understand that MAM’s plan in Museum Park includes a sculpture garden and maybe having both would be overkill, but a plaza or open square on Parcel B presents many other uses. Below are some images of the temporary sculpture exhibitions at the Plaza Maria Pita in La Coruna, Spain. Just imagine a similar square, dotted with art and people, with a backdrop of glistening blue water, towers, museums, and the AAA–all connected to the Baywalk. Not a bad thought.