Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Overtown's Gibson Park Ribbon Cutting

From 11am to noon today, Overtown celebrates the $10.9 million renovation of Gibson Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The once empty grass field now boasts an Olympic-sized pool and state-of-the-art football and baseball fields. The park is located at 401 NW 12th street.

Gibson Park - Patrick Farrell/ Miami Herald Staff

In her Miami Herald article, "Overtown's renovated Gibson Park a symbol of hope," Alexa Lopez details the park's renovation:
The park is part of a citywide plan to bolster Overtown, the historic black neighborhood that once was the hub of Miami's black middle-class, but slipped into blight after I-95 bisected it. In May, the Miami commission approved investing $50 million in the neighborhood, building four mixed-use projects of housing and retail, and renovating the aging Town Park residences.

For Gibson Park, Tuesday's opening is Phase 1; Phase 2 calls for a $2.7 million gymnasium, now in its preliminary design stage.
The article also details the overall improvements throughout Overtown including the benefit of the once-criticized parking lots that Arthur Teele brought to the area:
(Marvin) Dunn credits Arthur Teele, the former Metro and Miami commissioner, with being one of Overtown's earliest visionaries. He pushed to add parking lots along Third Avenue, the hub of Overtown's business community.

"At the time, people thought that they were a waste of money," Dunn said. "But now that Overtown has begun development, we need those parking lots. The long-term impact has been positive for Overtown."
You can see Marvin Dunn, Jim DeFede and Oscar Corral's views (from 2007) of the Overtown parking lots in this scene from Miami Noir: