By Melissa Nobles
Coconut Grove is known for its lush tropical environment, which includes one of the largest tree canopies in Miami. After 25 years without maintenance, the Coconut BID decided to do something about it. Committed to preserving this historically beautiful scenery, the organization trimmed and pruned 67 trees along Grand and Florida Avenues, and Virginia and Mary Streets, in addition to implementing a pesticide and fungicide program for conservation within the District.
“Aside from the view of Biscayne Bay, our lush tropical setting distinguishes us from the other well known Miami neighborhoods,” said David Collins. “As the organization dedicated to rejuvenating and enhancing the Grove, it would be wise for us to start with up-keeping our famed attributes in the form of beautification projects.”
Yet, the Grove’s beautiful natural tree canopy isn’t the only project the BID set out to complete back in 2009. Similar to remodeling a historic home, several pivotal accomplishments have revived the Grove’s cherished colorful character, while still accommodating today’s modern needs.
Proud to be recognized as one of Miami’s cycle-friendliest cities, the Coconut Grove BID installed a total of six artistic and colorful bicycle racks within the business district.
Each rack can accommodate 10 bikes and are aesthetically pleasing to all visitors. Colors include bright blue, green and red. Shapes include an electric guitar as well as an actual bicycle.
With restaurant and store owners reporting a significant increase in visitors stopping by on bicycle, the rack installation project has created an overall encouraging environment for those wishing to visit on foot or even while walking their dogs.
Whether it installs flags and bunting for the Fourth of July or decorations and treelighting for holiday celebrations, much of the BID’s efforts are focused on elevating the overall appearance of the area.
“Although our Village literally lights up during different holiday seasons, and is quite a sight to see, we want visitors to walk our streets and admire the natural beauty and inviting scenery on any given day,” said Collins.
Adding a pleasant touch to the already famous flora, more than 100 beautiful, hanging flower baskets were installed within the central business district, an initial investment of $56,000. The purple penta, red penta and star jasmine-filled baskets arrived just in time for the summer vacation season.
Two baskets adorn each of the Village’s 50 lamp posts – all planted on the central business district’s sidewalks. The central business district’s light posts are located along Grand Avenue, Commodore Plaza and Fuller and McFarlane Roads.
Eventually, the summer arrangements will be replaced with new ones during the winter months. This will create a different look for a different season.
ART ABOUT TOWN
While natural beauty defines the Village center, alluring art blooms everywhere in Miami’s original art district.
You’re sure to find that celebrated artists such as Peter Max, George Rodez and Cristina Chacon have all made this Bohemian paradise their artistic home, with acclaimed galleries on nearly every street corner. But you don’t always have to be inside to admire good work.
An artistic revival has come to the Grove, and as with most great ideas, it’s starting on the streets…literally.
Located in the center of town, the Grove now has a beautifully hand-painted welcome center that’s not only a work of art, but is conveniently informational as well.
Designed and hand-painted by Coconut Grove artist Eileen Seitz, the bright and inviting hospitality booth shines with traditional Bahamian colors and vivid scenic images. Professionally staffed with knowledgeable Hospitality Ambassadors who answer hundreds of visitors’ questions and provide reliable directions, the welcome center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is located directly in front of The Gap at CocoWalk.
Throughout the Grove, Prince Media Development, owned and operated by longtime Grove resident Heather Bettner, has produced one the Village’s most acclaimed art-projects in years: the Coconut Grove Peacock Tour.
Proud to be one of this interactive, public art exhibition’s sponsors, the Coconut Grove BID asks visitors to come and meet “Monty” – one of the 19 larger than life peacock statues inspired by the real-life birds that wander the Grove’s residential streets. Varying in colors, designs and pure personalities, each peacock is decorated by a noted Coconut Grove or Miami artist.
To locate any of the birds on the tour (including the BID’s very own “Monty”), visit www.coconutgrovepeacocktour.com for a detailed map with information, locations and images.