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Miami civic groups to dedicate park promised but never built


Civic groups demanding that Miami-Dade County and the Miami Heat make good on a nearly 20-year-old promise to turn a five-acre waterfront lot behind the AmericanAirlines Arena into a park say they're not waiting any longer.

On Saturday, they'll open the park themselves.

The Urban Environment League, Emerge Miami and The New Tropic publication are organizing a late morning jaunt to Parcel B for some summer recreation, and to dedicate the land after the late Dan Paul, a first amendment attorney and environmentalist. The 11:30 a.m. gathering -- preceded by a 10 a.m. bicycle ride from the Vizcaya Metrorail station -- will apparently include a ribbon-cutting, hula-dancing contest and picnic.

Festivities aside, the gathering is a slap at the county and Heat, which used the promise of a park to sell the construction of the county-owned arena to voters in 1996. Currently, the land is used for valet parking, and county is considering two museums.

A UEL press release states:

"We’re not exactly sure why our county’s leaders have been unable to deliver on their promises for the past two decades to open the park. We assume that between their busy schedule of meeting with Miami Heat lobbyists and the big developers who want to build up the site, they just haven’t found a good time to have a grand opening. But we also hear that maybe they misplaced the official pair of big ceremonial scissors and are too embarrassed to have a ribbon-cutting for the new park without them."