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| Culture |

Grand Central Park's Opening Night Set for Friday

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Pop-up shops are all the rage, but what about a pop-up park?

On Friday, January 20, Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association Inc. will formally unveil Grand Central Park, a five-acre, multi-use recreation space designed to generate a pedestrian-friendly environment in Overtown Miami, the city's first Instant Park.

"We took a piece of land and built the park in 30 days," says Brad Knoefler, President of Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association Inc (OPRA). "A typical city project would take years."

Utilizing vacant land once occupied by the Miami Arena, OPRA's effort to re-urbanize downtown Miami was funded with a $200,000 grant from SE Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency. Knoefler calls OPRA's public/private partnership "a concrete example" of local government working together with the community.

"We pay $200,000 a year in rent," Knoefler says. "We get income from parking and income from big events -- we're a self-financing park."

Currently, OPRA has a three-year lease on the land, though there's long-term potential.

Knoefler's hoping to find a corporate sponsor for an outdoor movie system, and has been discussing the possibility of a bike-in movie night with Critical Mass.

He's hopeful that Miami will get out of their cars and into the streets.

"Long-term, there's some really cool possibilities," Knoefler promises. "The permit on the park allows us do pretty much whatever we want, up to 700 people."

Grand Central Park Grand Opening. Friday, January 20 at 5 p.m., Grand Central Park (700 N. Miami Ave, Miami). Admission is free.

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