April 21-27, 2014

Developer Wants to Turn Old Arena Into Green Space

The park would include a drive-in movie theater and farmer's market

By Steve Litz and Jessica Sick
|  Thursday, Apr 12, 2012  |  Updated 4:30 PM EDT
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Developer Wants to Turn Old Arena Into Green Space

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Though the museum park -- which will be the new home of the Miami Art Museum come 2013 -- that recenlty broke ground is getting all the downtown-revitalization attention, a few blocks off the main drag of Biscayne Boulevard, another green space is trying to gain momentum.

Activists in Miami are unveling plans for a grandiose park to be built on what some would consider a historic site.

Grand Central Park is planned to be developed at the old Miami Arena site on 7th Street and Northwest First Avenue. The developers -- Brad Knoefler and Aramis Lorie of Omni Park West Redevelopment Association -- envision a giant green space that will accommodate outdoor concerts, a drive-in theater, farmer's market and mini skateboard park.

Omni Park says the park can be up and running in about a month, and to prove it the plan also includes the making of a "how to build a park in 30 days" documentary, which they say will be submitted to Sundance.

Recently, Knoefler and Lorie opened event space Grand Central next to the old Arena site. Without the city's monetary help, the duo, along with hired locals, used their own funds to clean up the old Arena space and the area around it.

Earlier this month, Omni Park met with City of Miami Commissioner Mark Sarnoff, who Knoefler said was impressed by the project, especially its green component. They also met with Koteles Alexander, of Commissioner Richard Dunn's office, who said he liked the idea that it was a one-off grant, meaning they wouldn't be back for more money.

Omni Park has already raised more than $100,000 for the project, and they're asking Miami's community re-development agency for a $200,000 grant to complete the financing.

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