His Park Is Worse Than His Bite

Ronald Hayes hopes to keep developers (and Beach officials) from messing with North Shore Open Space Park

Hayes showed up at the January 6 commission meeting in a suit, "dressed like the President of the United States," as he recalls, with a prepared speech. He never read the speech but he did stand up before the lunch break to remind Mayor Neisen Kasdin of the importance of fixing the park. Later Hayes met with Kevin Smith and buttonholed commissioner David Dermer on the elevator. Dermer has been critical of the city's delay in renovating North Shore Open Space, contending improvements shouldn't have been tied to the lawsuit. "I agree with Mr. Hayes on that," Dermer says. "I saw him at the commission meeting. He had a petition. He's called me, and we've spoken one or two times."

"They're rascals down there [at city hall]," Hayes exclaims. "It's all promises. But at least the commissioners know who this old man is now."

On a recent afternoon tour of the park, Hayes spots two city trucks parked in a clearing and hustles up to greet their drivers. "Amigo!" he calls out. "Como esta?" The workers have been inspecting electrical wiring, but they can't tell Hayes when promised park lighting will go up. "Well," he says, "you'll see me around here all the time now." Crossing Collins on his way home, Hayes glances over his shoulder at the park entrance. "I love a good fight," he enthuses. "Us Irishmen love a good fight."

kathy_glasgow@miaminewtimes.com

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