A few days ago I slid on downtown to check out Miami’s newest public park, Omni Park, a creation of Miami’s maestro of temporary public spaces, Brad Knoefler. Knoefler is well known for creating Grand Central Park, a pop-up urban park which was located where part of Miami Worldcenter is being built.
Knoefler and his team have created a temporary park on three entire city blocks of formerly derelict land that will remain until that land is needed for the reconstruction of the I-395 overpass to Miami Beach. Although the Florida Department of Transportation, which owns the land and will eventually use it for the underpass, is limiting the park to a month-to-month lease, Knoefler says that because of the timeline of the overpass’ reconstruction and informal conversations he’s had with the project’s contractors, he predicts the park will stay for at least a few years. And in that few years, he has a lot planned.
I ran into Knoefler at the park, as he was getting out of his bright blue vintage station wagon. It was one of those really cool old beasts that sometimes have fake wood painted on the sides. He excitedly told me all about what he has planned in the near future for the park. So far, there’s a skate park and lots of fresh grass. Events, like a farmer’s market and concerts, happen all the time. There’s yoga too. Coordinating with the Perez Art Museum Miami, artists are bringing in site-specific public art. A convenience store is opening. And a guy who is famous for having a tribe of goats (tribe, according to the U.S. Geological Survey being the proper name for a herd of goats) is opening a restaurant in the park and plans on bringing his goats with him to naturally mow the lawn.