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Park(ing) Day Hits South Florida

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(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

David-Sutta-600x450 David Sutta
David Sutta joined the CBS4 news team in April of 2007. As S...
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MIAMI (CBS4) – If you were driving through Downtown Miami Friday you may have caught a bizarre scene near the American Airlines Arena.  Parking spaces have been covered with grass, lawn chairs are out, and people are just hanging out. The area in Overtown is overrun with florescent weeds as well.  It’s all part of a stunt developer Brad Knoefler is pulling off right on 1st avenue.

“Probably 90% of our public space is geared toward the automobile.  So where we are sitting now is pretty much empty asphalt because no one parks here,” Knoefler told CBS4’s David Sutta.

Knoefler, who owns a club down the street, decided to put 10 parking spaces to use today as Park(ing) day, a worldwide event where urban spaces are turned into parks.  While temporary, he was pretty content with the outcome stretching half a city block.

“For one day.  But at the very least we get a taste of what the city could be.”

Park(ing) Day, the official name of the day, invites citizens to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good, according to parkingday.org. Last year, 850 parks in 183 cities around the world were transformed on Park(ing) Day.

Park(ing) Day started in 2005 in San Francisco. It’s goal is to “call attention to the need for more urban open space,” according to parkingday.org.

Angela, an Overtown resident, enjoyed every foot of grass.

“A little grass?  Look at this I can come here and hang out. I can lounge.  The breeze with the trees.  It’s like living in Brickell Avenue.”

While some would call Knoefler stunt a gimmick, Overtown business owners saw promise.

“We need it.  Real bad.  Because jobs are hard to come by,” said Colalide Daniels, operator of Backyard BBQ.

Knoefler is determined to change that by changing his neighborhood.  He has plans to build a temporary park on the old Miami Arena site. And he’s the one behind those florescent weeds, called weed bombs, which led us to his mini park.

“We were inspired by something called yarn bombing that they are doing up in New York City.” Knoefler said.  Yard bombing is when bright colored yarn is put into potholes and cracks in the roadway to bring the cities attention to the problem.

Knoefler says he plans to provide the spray cans for kids to tag the weeds instead of walls.  You could call it art that may inspire not just the locals but the city into action.

“If it takes us painting the weeds for the city to cut them so be it.  We’ll paint them every month.” Said Knoefler.

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