The city of Aventura has removed a popular community garden space and replaced it with pickleball courts… and some locals are outraged.
Situated along the waterfront of Dumfoundling Bay in suburban north Miami, the 12-acre park offers a range of amenities for visitors to enjoy. Among them are a pleasant walking trail, a well-equipped playground, an expansive athletic field, and several tennis courts.
However, what truly captivated numerous residents was the Aventura Community Green Garden nestled in the heart of the park.
The garden was demolished earlier this year as part of the city’s project to construct a pickleball court in its place. The subsequent protests claim the new courts will have environmental, legal, and noise implications issues for the surrounding area, especially as the introduction of floodlighting will also allow play to happen at night.
Not All Doom And Gloom
It’s not all doom and gloom, though.
As part of the project, the community garden space has been relocated to a nearby plot that offers picturesque views of the Intracoastal waterway, and its size has been expanded from 48 to 52 planters.
The city is collaborating with a landscape architect and seeking advice from a horticulturist to ensure the garden thrives. Together, they aim to select vegetation that creates biodiversity by attracting butterflies and enhancing the park’s natural beauty.
Additionally, the park’s revitalization plans include an increased tree canopy, strategically providing more shaded areas by harnessing the power of nature.
Living In A Gun Range
For Ariel Penzer, who lives in the apartment complex next to Founders Park, the problem with the city’s plan is more than just relocating a community garden.
Penzer said, “I am not a gardener, but nobody wants to garden near the sounds of pickleball. Double the normal decibel levels. The sound is horrible. It’s like living in a gun range.”
City Communications Director Evan Ross explained the reasoning behind the plan to the Miami New Times last month:
“The demand for pickleball obviously is no secret. Lots of the condos in Aventura have been converting some of their tennis courts to pickleball courts”.
Aventura Mayor Howard Weinberg told The Daily Beast, “The gardens will be in the SAME park they have always been. They will actually be located in the nicest spot in the same park—along the waterfront!”
After sending the city cease-and-desist letters concerning the Founders Park project, a local property association escalated its litigation earlier this month when it filed a complaint and a motion for injunction with the Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
The potential loss of tranquility is also detailed in the complaint, which states that “the striking of a pickleball with a pickleball paddle produces a sound that uniquely impacts and disturbs human beings.”
Mayor Weinberg explained that the court decision was spurred by an “exploding demand” for pickleball.
He then rather strangely added: “My condominium has wonderful tennis and pickleball courts on the third floor of our building. I personally have no need for public tennis or pickleball courts. I can play anytime I want; just an elevator ride away.”
“We plan to continue,” Penzer said. “The only way [the Mayor] will hear the end of us is if he puts the community garden back to its original place and keeps the trees. He could be the real hero here.”
Read our other great stories about pickleball and its noise-related issues.
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