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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The serene, pristine beach day Monday morning could not be more different than how South Beach looked over the weekend.
Thousands of beachgoers descended on the beach for “Floatopia” – a social media inspired party, that though not a city-sanctioned event, was on the city’s radar.
“The City had a plan in place, and it worked to some extent. The problem is when you’re expecting 25000 people and you get 100000 people there’s only so much you can do,” City Commissioner Michael Grieco told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
Grieco headed to the beach after Floatopia and took cell phone video showing floats and other trash covering the sand.
He and Mayor Philip Levine are calling for an end to Floatopia here, and not only because of the trash.
Levine even took to social media, issuing a statement that read, in part: “The disruption to our beaches, residents and visitors caused by Floatopia will NOT be tolerated.”
The event jammed traffic on the beach, convincing some residents, like Antonio Manfreiz to simply get out of town.
“I got in the car and drove elsewhere. I planned to do things off the beach,” Manfreiz said.
Mayor Levine says the city has methods to discourage participation.
“We can make sure that it is so managed aggressively that this will not occur again,” he told Zea.
The Floatopia promoter posted a statement on Facebook, saying, in part: “The level of disrespect shown on our beach yesterday was unimaginable. Thank you to everyone who cleanup after themselves but unfortunately, this time, you were the minority. We refuse to be associated with this kind of behavior and much less will we facilitate an event that hurts a city and beach that we love.”
The Mayor says squashing this event alone, is not enough.
He is forming a blue ribbon committee to better plan for major events on the Beach.
“To make sure that not only is the city prepared, but that we can stop these types of events and not even allow them to come,” he said.
Raven, a local character who is nationally known, has run on the beach every day since January 1st, 1975.
“It is just like my baby, out here. People leave things, litter, it hurts, I feel bad,” Raven said. “I ran through it. Beach was covered – rafts, inner tubes, besides the drinking bottles.”
Longtime South Beach resident Jeanne Lorine locks herself in her condo when big events come to town. But doesn’t feel the city should crack down on them.
“Let people live and enjoy themselves…Living on the beach, any event is overcrowded. And I like to get up the next morning when they’re all gone and say ha- it’s mine,” Lorine said.
Even one of Raven’s running buddies is not that upset.
“I had no problem with it. The kids were having a great time. There did not seem to be any ruckus or anything like that,” said John Elson.
One of the big events the mayor says needs to be re-examined is the already approved Air and Sea Show, scheduled during a normally very busy Memorial Day weekend.
Environmental activist Michael DiFilippi heads the group “Clean Up Miami Beach.” He said it is all about respect for the beach.
“Currently the county maintains the beaches. I would like the city of Miami Beach take over the operation of the beach and improve them,” DiFilippi said.
There is no estimate yet from the city or the county on the cost of cleanup.
It was an event originally suggested as a way to have a calmer holiday weekend than in years past.
The city commissioner will take up the Floatopia issue during its meeting April 27th.