The "Galiano Green:" A 2016 Public Space Challenge Winner
In September 2016, the “Downtown Coral Gables Community Park,” a submission made by Bike Walk Coral Gables (BWCG), was selected as one of 19 winners from 400+ ideas submitted by our community to the 2016 Public Space Challenge, a program of The Miami Foundation. BWCG's submission was selected as a finalist in June, and later announced as a winner in September.
The submitted idea, now branded as the "Galiano Green," was to create a small public park in the green buffer in front of the parking lot at the corner of Galiano and Almeria. While Coral Gables is known for its tree-lined streets and high quality green spaces, this is not the case in the city’s densest area. The city’s population is 50,000, though it doubles during the day when office workers, service personnel, and tourists flock to one of the more popular downtowns in the county. Population and tourism continue to increase in the downtown area with added residential units, streetscape improvements, and the implementation of the citywide bike master plan. Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods are one of the rare areas in Miami where one can still live affordably while also enjoying a high quality of life. To build a sense of community and contribute to the livability of downtown, the area needs additional public spaces where people can have lunch, sit in the shade on a hot day, or just enjoy the sights.
The park – centrally located in the downtown - will offer a passive space to gather, interact, and relax in a natural environment. The park will also include a bike repair station, bike parking, a water station, and other amenities to cater to bike commuters and recreational cyclists in the area.
After Bike Walk Coral Gables (BWCG) received the grant from the Miami Foundation in October 2016, measurements and documentation of the site were taken. In November, BWCG worked with the City of Coral Gables' Public Works, Parks & Recreation, and Parking departments to finalize a concept site plan and estimated costs. On December 9, BWCG presented the "Galiano Green" project to the City of Coral Gables Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. The Board unanimously approved the concept site plan and is looking forward to the park being realized.
On January 12th, BWCG presented the pocket park idea to the City's Landscape & Beautification Advisory Board, to get feedback on plant species, trees, and other technical details. The Board unanimously approved the "Galiano Green" concept as presented and congratulated the team on the beautiful site plan.
Jennifer Garcia, Board Chair of Bike Walk Coral Gables, was the guest speaker at the Coral Gables Forum meeting at John Martin's on April 3, 2017. She spoke about how the "Galiano Green" and additional Public Spaces improve the lives of people who want to bike and walk in Coral Gables. As Coral Gables continues to grow, our community will need to reserve spaces that are designed for the people that use them. She also shared her experiences of her daily commute on bike using our city's most impactful public spaces - our streets.
Bike Walk Coral Gables, working with Coral Gables' Public Works, Parks & Recreation, and Parking departments, is planning to open the downtown park in spring 2017.