Miami Circle - Learn More - Planning Group, Minutes May 14, 2002
MIAMI CIRCLE PLANNING GROUP
Tuesday, May 14, 2002, 9:00AM -12:00PM
Historical Museum of Southern Florida
101 West Flagler Street
- Planning Group Members in attendance
Alejandro J. Aguirre, Publisher, Diario Las Americas
Greg Bush, President, Urban Environmental League
Robert Carr, Executive Director, Archaeological & Historical Conservancy
Lee Tiger, representing Billy Cypress, Chairman, Miccosukee Tribe of Florida,
Lavinia Freeman, representing Brenda H. Marshall, Senior Project Manager, The
Trust for Public Land,
Janet Snyder Matthews, Chair and Director, Florida Division of Historical
Captain David Miller, Managing Director, Miami River Commission
Enid Pinkney, Member, Miami-Dade Historic Preservation Board
Michael Spring, Executive Director, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural
Jennifer Beber, President, Beber Silverstein & Partners
Mitchell Cypress, Seminole Tribe of Florida
Linda Canzanelli, Superintendent, Biscayne National Park
Christopher Eck, Executive Director, Miami-Dade County Office of Historic
Jorge Hernandez, Chair, Florida Historic Preservation Advisory Council
Becky Roper Matkov, Executive Director, Dade Heritage Trust
James Miller, Vice Chair and State Archaeologist, Bureau of Archaeological
Arva Moore Parks McCabe, Presidential Appointee, US Advisory Council for
Parker Thomson, Chairman, Performing Arts Center Trust
- Minutes of Meeting
Mario Dario Aranda, Miami
Bobby C. Billie, Spiritual Leader, Independent Traditional Seminole Nation of
J. Andrew Brian, President, Historical Museum of Southern Florida
Maria V. Cabrera, Miami
Valjawan Deer, ACE, Clermont
Marie Denis, Department of Cultural Affairs, Miami-Dade County
Erica McKinney, Miami-Dade Mayor’s Office
Martin Merzer, Miami Herald
Terry Mock, Champion Tree Project
Catherine Hummingbird Ramirez, Miami
Dan Ricker, Watchdog Report
Ellen Roth, South Florida Regional Director, Office of U.S. Senator Bob Graham
Brenda Swann, Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research
Jorge Zamanillo, Historical Museum of Southern Florida
Item 1: Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 9:55 AM by Janet Snyder Matthews.
Planning Group members were asked to introduce themselves.
Video presentation by Blanca Mesa, Quest for Ancient Footsteps
The minutes of the November 30, 2001 meeting had been distributed by mail. Alejandro Aguirre moved to approve the minutes. Captain David Miller seconded the motion. The minutes were unanimously approved without amendment.
Item II. Update on Senate Bill 1894, Congressional authorization for a study regarding incorporation of the Miami Circle/Brickell Point into Biscayne National Park
Dr. Matthews discussed the press conference with Bob Graham regarding Senate Bill 1894 and asked Ellen Roth with Senator Graham’s office to report on the status of the Bill.
Ms. Roth stated that Wednesday, May 15, 2002, the Business Committee will vote it out of committee, which means hearings have been held and no opposition or problems are expected. Ms. Roth said that although the Senator’s office is pleased with progress, there is no definite timetable for when the Bill will pass.
Alejandro Aguirre asked for the earliest expected date the study would be finished. Ms. Roth stated that by the end of year it should be where we want it ultimately. Mr. Alejandro then asked if the study would be completed a year and a half after it passes, and Ms. Roth replied that she would get back with the Planning Group about that. Dr. Matthews added that when it passes out of Congress, an 18-month study is the minimal time frame. Linda Canzanelli, Superintendent of Biscayne National Park, previously told Dr. Matthews that the National Park Service prefer that it be a 24-month study because other studies have already passed out of congress. Dr. Matthews added that the Florida National Register considers state and local significance, while a feasibility study determines significance on a national level.
Item III. Presentation on Miami River Greenway Project, Lavinia Freeman, Trust for Public Land
Dr. Matthews introduced Lavinia Freeman, who was representing Brenda Marshall with the Trust for Public Land. Ms. Freeman gave a 10 minute presentation on the Miami River Greenway Project, with focus on the Miami Circle inclusion in the Greenway (see attached copy of presentation slides).
- Champion Tree Project International
Dr. Matthews introduced Terry Mock with Champion Tree Project International (CTP). Mr. Mock stated that originally the Trust for Public Land asked CTP to become involved with the Miami River Greenway and Miami Circle/Brickell Point Planning. On a personal note, Mr. Mock shared that he is a third generation Floridian, has Native American ancestry, and is a co-founder of the Florida Native Plant Society. Additionally he possesses a strong desire to promote natural resources. Mr. Mock said that the CTP is helping organizations such as the Miami Circle Planning Group with preserving culture and history, as it is working at sites like Mount Vernon. Mr. Mock explained that a Champion Tree is the largest tree of its kind, and therefore is a remnant of a hardwood forest. The genetics of those trees can be preserved. Mr. Mock presented a seven-minute video discussing the national effort.
Mr. Mock said that the CTP proposes to furnish two specific native species, Silver and Green Buttonwoods, at no cost for the Miami Circle property. Mr. Mock explained that the trees were cloned by CTP about 5 years ago, and they can grow to 10 feet tall and are pruned to specification to provide shade. According to Mr. Mock, several organizations are partnering with the CTP and are beginning to line up to have Champion Tree clones on land they control or own. Mr. Mock suggested that the CTP be part of the plan to develop and promote the River and take advantage of positive media regarding CTP. Mr. Mock said that he understands that work may be years in the future, and in previous similar projects, CTP symbolically planted trees in containers to later be transplanted to the ground. Mr. Mock then opened the floor for questions.
Captain David Miller asked if root structure would be intrusive into the archaeological remains. Mr. Mock replied that yes, the trees are quite large, and root systems will expand well beyond drip lines of the tree, and that it is an issue here, as with all permanent structures planned at the site. Mr. Mock suggested planting a tree in a container might help to rally support for the project. Captain Miller then asked Mr. Mock if more than two trees will be available. Mr. Mock answered that yes, there are others that will soon be available for this zone, including satin leaf, gumbo limbo, sea grape, pigeon plumb, and lignum vitae. Mr. Mock explained that with living libraries, the CTP plants a few species as they are available, and as more species become available they could be planted at the site. Captain Miller asked Mr. Mock if trees would be available at other places along the River, and Mr. Mock said that the CTP has a tentative agreement with Point Park and hopes the trees could tie together the Greenway concept.
Michael Spring lent his support to the consideration of using the services of the CTP, citing that a marriage between the legacy and heritage of the site and a program that treats landscaping also from the perspective of legacy and heritage was an interesting match. Mr. Spring stated that it is hard to turn down someone who is offering a well thought out project for free, and that having the native species at the site would be a wonderful educational opportunity.
Bob Carr added that Lee Newsom with the Pennsylvania State University is putting together a plant list of native species found at the site, and Dr. Matthews said that getting that information would be informative for the CTP.
Dr. Matthews introduced Lee Tiger, who just arrived. Mr. Tiger said that Billy Cypress might arrive in a little while. Mr. Tiger then asked if sensitive [archaeological] areas are known, and Mr. Carr responded in the affirmative and added that there was a time when hardwood tropical hammock existed on the property. Coconut trees were planted in the historic period, and now the site is denuded. Mr. Tiger asked if photos exist that show original natural community. Mr. Carr answered that photos exist as far back as 1892. Mr. Tiger asked if these [CTP] plants match the historic/prehistoric environment, and Mr. Mock replied that he is describing species from the hardwood hammock plant community, and that is an incredible legacy that is going extinct. Mr. Mock said that before the Buttonwood was cloned from the Key West champion, the original tree was killed in a hurricane, so we have the genetics and can clone a now extinct tree. Mr. Mock described the CTP as a “Jurassic Park for trees.”
Dr. Matthews reiterated Mr. Tiger’s question about knowing where archaeologically sensitive areas are, and Mr. Carr replied that a map needs to be created showing areas that are less sensitive than other areas, and planting the trees might involve bringing in fill. Mr. Mock reminded the Planning Group that plants could be put in containers until they can be planted in the ground. Dr. Matthews thanked Mr. Mock for his presentation, asked if there were anymore questions, and upon getting no response, mentioned that Mr. Mock will be in touch with the Planning Group and that his presentation was just informational at this point. Mr. Mock agreed.
- The Honorable Manuel Diaz, Mayor, City of Miami support letter for public access to the site.
- Update on signage proposed plans for temporary interpretation
of the site, J. Andrew Brian, President, Historical Museum of Southern
Dr. Matthews introduced J. Andrew (Andy) Brian and asked him to update the Planning Group on the plans for interpretation of the site as it involves the Historical Museum.
Mr. Brian stated that the Division of Historical Resources grant program provided funding for conducting research and developing interpretive materials for an exhibit on South Florida archaeology and history. Mr. Brian said that the Museum is in the final phases completing grant requirements, including working with the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc. on the research efforts and on the final stages of design criteria and implementation of interpretation and exhibits for the third floor [museum] exhibit. The same kind of interpretive script used in the Museum exhibit will be used for on site interpretation. Mr. Brian explained that the museum plans on completing interpretive text for the exhibit in the museum, including the larger aspect of South Florida archaeology, and then honing in on the Miami Circle as a major component of South Florida archaeology, all of which will be completed by September 30, 2002. On site signage includes recognition of players that made acquisition and on-going stabilization possible and a large photo banner of the site that has been stolen, but the Museum has electronic data for that to replace it. Mr. Brain discussed the possibility, depending on what the Planning Group decides, of adding other banners on the existing billboard on east side of Brickell Bridge for good visibility. Mr. Brian added that information about what is going on currently could be accessed electronically on Web sites, and some grant monies have been identified to provide onsite interpretation. Mr. Brian concluded that design and implementation of onsite interpretation will depend on what is going to happen on the site; therefore, the Museum is reserving some of the implementation aspect until more is known about what is going to happen on the site, how public access is going to be routed around, how it’s going to look, and how it’s going to be protected.
Dr. Matthews asked if there were any questions for Mr. Brain. Dr. Greg Bush asked if there were any plans for a discussion or presentation in relation to the struggle for the acquisition of the site, because that is a part of the history of this area in general. Mr. Brain responded that he has not yet reviewed the copy, but believed that is a part of the interpretation, although it is not a major portion of the interpretation because the focus is on prehistory. Mr. Brian added that the Museum plans to develop a brochure (or something similar) that will have more copy on the acquisition of site and that struggle, including the public access and public out pouring. Dr. Bush then reiterated that he thinks that including that is important because it links people to the site, making it not so distant.
Dr. Bush then asked if there was going to be much attention on the Brickell family and the Brickells. Dr. Bush expressed the opinion that although the Miami Circle is a sacred site, it is also historically very significant in terms of the Brickell family, and he does not think Miamians know much about that. Mr. Brian responded that it will be addressed in terms of the overall interpretation on the third floor and will be mentioned in terms of the property and the history on the property. Mr. Brian stated that not a lot has been linked to that part of the property’s history and perhaps that will be another phase of what is done. Mr. Brian then mentioned the opportunity within Web sites to have links to the Brickell family history and some of the history of the struggle and acquisition of the site. Dr. Bush said that in general its important to learn about long term changes in land use and that should be highlighted as well as the sacred nature of the site. Mr. Tiger lent his support to Dr. Bush’s comments and added that current native peoples in the cultural tourism business still use the river and may be a partner in providing public access and interpretation. Mr. Brian stated that the interpretation at the site will likely include that, as well as opposing views of interpretation. Mr. Brian said that the interpretation he discussed previously is best defined as an interim interpretation because we would like to look at broad national models that look at sites like this to provide the best interpretation that we can for the public when access is possible. Mr. Brian added that these interpretative materials are preliminary and will go through revisions based on people’s reaction to it, as is the normal process for all projects.
Dr. Matthews asked for additional comments, and Captain Miller said that he felt a little concern about the billboard advertisement being disrespectful of the site. Mr. Brian said that it was the intent to do it in a respectful manner, and Captain Miller replied that perhaps it should not be done at all. Mr. Brian agreed and said the reason they have not jumped on it right away is that we are all still learning about the site and people’s reaction to it. Mr. Brian explained that the main goal with the billboard is merely to provide access to information through a Web site, allowing for some kind of depth in the interpretation and exposing the site for the content rich area that it is.
Dr. Matthews asked for any further comments and thanked Mr. Brian. She opined that we see over and over again that the broad interpretation and incorporation of many facets become something very important in the education and spiritual aspects of this site.
- Proposed Plan for a thatch structure and temporary public access to the site, Michael Spring, Director, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and Valjawan Deer, ACE. [Changed from Angel T. Franco, President, A.T. Franco and Associates]
- Protect the circle;
- Provide public access; and
- Create something that is thoughtful and respectful of the site.
Dr. Matthews introduced the agenda item, and Mr. Spring stated that he had a copy of the letter and can talk about how that letter emerged. Mr. Spring explained that as work proceeds to consider options for the Miami Circle site, it is important to make sure that the governments (City, County, State, and Federal) of jurisdiction are clearly aware of the process that is going on and are in support of the work the Planning Group is trying to do to be thoughtful and considerate about providing public access to the site. To that end, Miami-Dade County requested a letter of support from new Mayor Manuel Diaz, and he generously sent a letter of support to Katherine Harris. In the letter, he expressed support for an interim site plan, how important the site is in downtown Miami, and how important it is to provide public access. Mr. Spring expressed Miami-Dade County’s appreciation for city staff, who continue to express support for what the Planning Group decides. Mr. Spring wanted to make sure that the Planning Group members knew that the Mayor was supportive.
Dr. Matthews asked Mr. Spring and Val Deer to discuss the conceptual design and proposed plan. Mr. Spring reviewed current conditions at the site, including the fact that the Circle feature is partially uncovered and exposed to the elements, the terrain at the site is somewhat uneven, and the area is fenced and closed to the public, with some limited visits. Mr. Spring reminded the Planning Group that the State has been generous about allocating funds to keep up the maintenance on the site so the ground cover is kept neat in an orderly way.
Mr. Spring stated that the Planning Group was concerned about the lack of public access to the site that would occur while long-range management plans were being developed. Mr. Spring said that Miami-Dade County contacted Angel T. Franco (architect), Val Deer (builder), and Doug Smith of EDSA (Landscaping Firm) who offered their services to design a plan that would satisfy 3 objectives in response to the Planning Group’s concerns:
Mr. Spring pointed out that in order to do anything, even on an interim basis, the support of all the partners involved in the project is needed. These partners would include the State in a lead role, Miami-Dade County in a supportive role, the city government for permitting, the Historical Museum for tours, and the Planning Group and the public for guidance. Mr. Spring said that he and Mr. Deer conceptualized this plan in two phases, with the first phase consisting of doing the very minimum to protect the site and to provide public access, and the second phase would look more carefully at landscaping and interpretive options. Mr. Spring said the State would likely fund the first phase, and Miami-Dade County, with assistance from the State and the Historical Museum, applied for a Save Americas Treasures grant to fund the second phase. Mr. Spring said he will hear more about the grant results around July 4, 2002. Mr. Spring turned the floor over to Mr. Deer.
Mr. Deer showed a 3-D board of the plan and two plan drawings, including a model of the thatched-roof structure and stated that this is a temporary structure. Mr. Spring said that after consulting with Mr. Carr regarding archaeologically sensitive areas of the site, the structure was designed to be 68 feet in diameter and comes well outside the outer edge of the Circle. This will enable posts holes to be dug in an area that is far less archaeologically sensitive than other areas. Mr. Spring said that the engineering for the posts going in the ground is something that the builder and architect would have to work out with archaeologists, the State, and others to make sure the site was not irrevocably damaged. Mr. Spring asserted that the thatched-roof structure needs to be 60 feet tall for the engineering to work and asked if anyone had questions for Mr. Deer.
Dr. Bush asked how many posts are required to go in the ground, and Mr. Deer said 32.
Mr. Spring stated that once you build a roof over the Circle, you have to be concerned about water run off, so a gentle trench will be formed around the Circle to prevent water from going back into the Circle itself. Mr. Spring then outlined the principle feature of the plan, which consists primarily of a winding walkway that goes from the existing paved area, over new, gently contoured areas (added fill), and around the perimeter of Circle [under the thatched-roof structure]. Mr. Spring explained that the path does not go directly to the Circle because a winding path was thought to encourage and interest people as they walk out to the site and also create a way for people with disabilities to get to the Circle. Mr. Spring opined that the walkway around the perimeter of the Circle would be prime location for signage, but Mr. Brian would best be able to determine that. Mr. Spring pointed out that a large portion of site with existing vegetation would not be touched and his team did not do too extensive of a plan, because of budgetary considerations and to not preclude the Planning Group. Mr. Spring added that the structure is open sided, allowing for light and air to pass through structure and the life span on this structure is 3 to 5 years. Mr. Deer corrected this statement, saying that the pitch on structure would extend the life span from 5 to 9 years because the top of the structure is suspended to allow air flow and minimize moisture build up.
Mr. Spring reminded the Planning Group that this structure is not intended to be a permanent solution and could be easily removed, and that his team tried to design something reversible, while in the interim allowing people to go to the site. Additionally Mr. Spring stated that no parking or restrooms are being added at the site. Mr. Spring then stated that because parking and restrooms are a prerequisite for leaving park open from 8 – 5 or Dawn to Dusk, etc. and because staffing cost to do that is not in our capacity right now, site access will be through tours, probably through Historical Museum. Using this kind of plan would allow public access through as many tours as there is a demand for them and provide a solution in the interim.
Captain Miller asked what, if any, charge would be asked for, and if any, what would the funds go towards. Mr. Spring answered that they have not thought the plan through to that detail. If there were a charge, the State and County would review possible costs and undoubtedly bring their findings back to Planning Group. The Historical Museum would have cost included for giving tours, so a charge would undoubtedly be considered if the cost of tours would be prohibitive.
Captain Miller commented that with no parking, people would have to be bused, which does not come free. Mr. Spring agreed with Captain Miller and provided possible funding options through grant support to off set costs with something other than just ticket sales.
Enid Pinkney asked if the Historical Museum would have a monopoly on tours, or would other historic preservation groups have the opportunity to give tours. Mr. Spring said that certainly organizations like the Dade Heritage Trust and the Miami River Commission would be able to do it as well, and Mr. Spring mentioned that Mr. Brian was shaking his head yes. Mr. Spring said that he just wanted to create the physical circumstances for people to get to the site, and then work with a variety of organizations for tours. He thought that multiple organizations would probably be better for the public.
Dr. Bush suggested that there be set days and times for opening the site to the public. Mr. Spring replied that that may be a good solution, but he was trying to manage expectations. He added that if Dade Heritage Trust wanted to have the site open for a day and wanted to provide staffing, etc. to do so, then that would be great. Dr. Bush said that facilitating the interests of tourists coming from all over the world at various times would be in the best interest for all involved, though he understood funding, staff, and security problems. Mr. Spring said that we do have those problems, but this plan allows us to have those problems because every step forward allows you to get to the next level of problems.
Mr. Tiger asked if there was any plan to have gates or box office, or is plan more like a park. Mr. Spring replied that the plan is to be as passive as possible, so as to not give the appearance of an attraction and be respectful of the site.
Dr. Matthews asked if there were any other questions or comments from the Planning Group and expressed concern for losing the quorum if a vote was not taken soon.
Lavinia Freeman asked why the pathway goes through property as opposed to along southern edge or along the river. Mr. Spring said that the route is the most efficient way of getting there and that there are issues concerning the edge of the site, particularly the deteriorating seawall and possible unstable ground there. Mr. Spring added that it would cost more to investigate and prepare a walkway along the edge. Dr. Matthews added that addressing the structure from the shoreline as well would allow people to approach the site the way people would have arriving by boat.
Captain Miller asked what were the plans for waterside security. Mr. Spring explained that just after acquisition, Miami-Dade County had 24-hour security on site. That, however, has not seemed necessary, and we are no longer doing that. If the need for it arises, Miami-Dade County will provide it, because according to agreement with the State, the County is responsible for security. Mr. Spring said that the Miami Circle is currently uncovered and there has been minimal evidence of vandalism. Mr. Spring added that there does not seem to be a problem with allowing access to the site from the water for fishing. Mr. Spring further stated that in fact having the fence continually vandalized by fisherman seems like a vicious cycle, so limited access to the site from the water is more practical. Mr. Spring made the Planning Group aware that the County is willing to look at more security if necessary.
Dr. Matthews asked if there was any further discussion or should a motion be brought before the Group. Mr. Aguirre offered to make a motion, and Mr. Spring seconded it. Dr. Matthews asked if there was any discussion on the motion, and Captain Miller and Dr. Bush asked for the motion to be stated. Mr. Aguirre explained the motion was to move forward with the plan for a thatched-roof structure and temporary public access on the site. Dr. Bush said that he wanted to hear public input on the plan before voting on the motion. Dr. Matthews asked the Planning Group members if that would be possible, and with no objections, Dr. Matthews asked for questions and comments from the public.
Blanca Mesa said that she was very gratified to see something simple, but she thought that provision for this plan should allow for the site to be open and free to public. She provided the example of the Alamo, which is free to public and supported by civic groups. Ms. Blanca said that the outside [perimeter of the property] needs to have good interpretive signs because people come at all hours.
Shannon Larson expressed concern about bringing people so close to the site prior to knowing what the purpose and function of site was. She said that native groups have certain sites that should not have people near certain areas. Ms. Larson then asked what type of material would be used for the walkway and hoped that it would not be asphalt. She said that there are materials now where water goes to the earth and having asphalt out there is an awful thought. Dr. Matthews thanked her for her comments and invited Bobbie C. Billie to speak.
Mr. Billie said that no matter what he says, the Planning Group is going do what it wants to anyway, but he wanted to clear himself. He said he tried to make the Planning Group understand, but they still will not listen. He said that the site is sacred ground, and we do not go into your church, tear it up, and build something over it to make money. He said that his way of life is based on natural things, and that is the way the creator created us. He expressed that he thinks that disturbing the site for any reason is a mistake, and is only looking at the short term and not at the future. He said that he will not give up and will continue to remind people over and over, as has been done for the last 500 years. He stated that he thought the Champion Tree Project was a good idea that was considerate of the future. Dr. Matthews thanked him and invited Dan Ricker to address the Planning Group.
Mr. Ricker asked about the cost of the “tiki hut on steroids.” Mr. Spring said that the cost including the landscaping, winding path, structure, design fees, permits, and anything else needed from start to finish is roughly $386,000.
Dr. Bush said that given the public comments last night, the plan should include some kind of ceremonial space in conjunction with native people. Mr. Spring said that he is not sure how to answer that question or how to translate ceremonial space into physical space. Mr. Spring suggested that Mr. Tiger might be better able to answer that question. Mr. Tiger said that he did not know about the history of the area, and the Miccosukee Tribe did not want to get involved for religious reasons. He is involved because he thinks it is an educational opportunity for people to learn about pre-Seminole and Miccosukee people, and a better understanding of that may help the future of Indian people in Dade County. He said that he thinks that if all the views, particularly what the past was like and what the site means to people today, are interpreted for the public, each individual can decide for themselves whether or not the site has a spiritual aspect.
In response to Mr. Billie’s comments, Enid Pinkney said that her heart went out to what he said about feeling left out and not being heard. She said that she has lived through that kind of experience herself, and she described growing up in Overtown and how that area is neglected today. She said she did not want anyone to feel that the Planning Group does not feel what you are feeling or does not hear what you are saying. She wished that the Planning Group could inculcate Mr. Billie’s feelings and comments, and have him feel that we understand what he is saying because we have lived through the same kinds of feelings, although maybe on other issues. She assures Mr. Billie that his thoughts and comments will be taken into consideration.
Mr. Tiger stated to Dr. Matthews and the Planning Group that they and others in Dade County have always extended a hand to include the tribes, and there are also individuals and families that also have concerns, like Mr. Billie and that is good. Mr. Tiger added that nothing is set in stone, and it is good that people are coming together now to do the best thing possible. He agreed, for example, that the asphalt would not fit the setting.
Catherine Hummingbird Ramirez addressed the Planning Group and stated that the asphalt chokes the earth, and mother earth is in a time that is a rebirth of creation. Ms. Ramirez asked if the structure going to be made of branches. Mr. Deer answered that the thatch would be made of sable palm leaves. Ms. Ramirez said that a high height is needed because of the energy coming from eye of circle, and Mr. Deer told her that the structure is planned to be 60 feet high. Mrs. Ramirez than asked how close the public will stand to the eye of the circle. Mr. Deer replied that the public would not be allowed to go past the edge of the Circle. Mr. Spring said that the Circle is 38 feet in diameter and the diameter of structure is 68 feet, so the distance from the edge of the Circle to farthest most post is approximately 15 feet. Ms. Ramirez asked if the structure was temporary, and Mr. Spring replied in the affirmative.
Dr. Matthews asked Giorgio Piacenza to address the Planning Group. Mr. Piacenza asked what is going to be done with cement [septic tank remains] over Circle. Bob Carr said the Planning Group has not made a determination on how to best interpret the site’s two intrusive features. Mr. Carr described a concrete footer and associated wall that are remains of the Brickell Apartments located on the site and said there is a debate as to whether it should stay there to show intrusion and for scale or be taken out. Mr. Carr then explained that the septic tank is more intrusive, and the general consensus is to remove it. Mr. Carr noted that removal probably would not happen during this phase of planning. Mr. Piacenza reiterated a time for ceremony and prayer together with the tours should be kept in mind because people will come to the site for that.
Dr. Matthews said that there have been two comments said over and over, namely that a place for spiritual gathering is needed and asphalt should not be used for the pathway. Dr. Bush suggested using stone instead of asphalt for the pathway, and Mr. Carr said that was done at the Deering Estate.
Dr. Matthews ask for any further comments, and ask the Planning Group to tell her if they were ready to vote and reminded them of the quorum issue. Captain Miller said that he had a comment regarding asphalt and stone. He asked Mr. Spring if the main reason for asphalt is for disabled access, and if so, is there another way to provide that kind of access. Mr. Spring replied that we will need to find another way to do that, and we can work with Mr. Carr and Mr. Deer about how to do that.
Mr. Aguirre asked if there was a call for questions, and Dr. Matthews said that we could stay and talk forever, but we need to make a decision. Dr. Bush asked if we are voting for the pathway and the structure, or the operation. He stated that he did not have a problem with the physical part, but he had concerns about availability of access and who is doing tours. Mr. Spring explained that he used the Historical Museum as an example, but there is no agreement or finalization about who would operate tours and if a charge will be required. Mr. Spring opined that there is time to develop a plan for that and he did not mean to suggest that a plan was already in place. Dr. Bush said he just wanted to see it as free public access, but asked if the Planning Group will decide on that later. Mr. Spring said that the Planning Group would decide on that later.
Dr. Matthews asked if the Planning Group is ready for a vote. Mr. Tiger asked Dr. Matthews to read language of the motion, and she read Item IV. D. on the meeting agenda (see attached) and stated that all concerns voiced can still be taken into this design.
A vote was taken, and 9 were in favor and 0 opposed
- Champion Tree Project International
- Closing remarks
Dr. Matthews thanked the Planning Group members and the general public for their time, attendance, and input, and said that a time for the next meeting will be set later. She adjourned the meeting at 12:15 p.m.
Brenda N. Swann