Grand Central Park transforms 5-acres of blight intoan open-air community recreation area. A veritable green oasis in the heart of Downtown Miami, the Park provides a place to play, to picnic, or to stroll through a native pre-Colombian S. Florida forest. Located at the site of the Old Miami Arena (only a few blocks away from the American Airlines Arena, Bayfront Park, and Historic Flagler Street). Grand Central Park’s central location in Downtown Miami means it serves as a gathering point for the more than 14,000 residents in the Parkwest, Overtown and neighboring Central Business District in Downtown Miami..
Grand Central Park’s temporary nature, low-cost design and rapid construction make it an “Instant Park” – the first of its kind in Florida. Urban parks increase community cohesion, diversity and promote pedestrian activity, translating into economic activity to local businesses and improved property values for landowners.
Downtown Miami is nearly devoid of active green space. Particularly, the Parkwest and Overtown neighborhoods have deteriorated into one of the largest assemblages of vacant land in any urban core in the U.S. Grand Central Park is a unique public/private partnership that takes a new approach to creating urban green space to combat that trend. After entering into a 3-year land lease with the land owner the Park received a mix of private and public funds, including a $200,000 grant from the Southeast Overtown Parkwest Community Redevelopment Agency, along with hundreds of hours of volunteer work from local stakeholders. Although temporary in nature, Grand Central Park’s innovative approach to neighborhood revitalization will have a lasting impact on future plans for redevelopment in Downtown Miami.
Walter Meyer and Jennifer Balstad of Local Office Landscape and Design volunteered their design expertise to build a 5-acre self-sustainable, low cost multi-use green space. The SEOPW CRA (www.miamicra.com) awarded OPRA a $200,000 grant as seed capital necessary to open Grand Central Park. Grand Central, Miami’s premier destination for live music entertainment, for more than $65,000 in don