For about two years now, Seth Levy of MiamiSkaters.com has been working diligently with The City of Miami to assist them in the with the building of a skateboard park in the Omni CRA district (D2), working all the way up the flagpole to directly involving Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and his office. The funding and location have already been secured, however, the project is currently stalled and is threatened with termination by a few politically well-connected community members. Although Commissioner Sarnoff is still enthusiastically supporting this project, these people have already managed to stall this project for over six months and have attempted to pressure Mayor Regalado to consider intervening and canceling the project despite the fact that this project is under the authority of the Omni CRA board which is chaired by Commissioner Sarnoff.
The general public’s anger ignited on the evening of June 28th when the two leaders of the anti-skate park movement, Annette Eisenberg and Stanley Tate, decided to appear live on the local ABC affiliate Channel 10 news and voice their opposition to a ” …marijuana smoking…”, “… boom box blasting”…, “…nuisance…” in the city. Despite having all of Seth’s contact information, Channel 10 news decided not to contact Seth regarding the story. The next day, Seth was contacted by the city with this troubling news and was told to respond immediately in order to save the project and two years of hard work on both Seth’s and the city’s behalf.
Seth immediately sprung into action, starting a Facebook group “Save the Miami skateboard park!” and letter writing campaign. Letters came in from people of all walks of life, age and geographic location. Attached is a Powerpoint containing a sample of letters that were forwarded to Seth with permission to publish. The Facebook group exploded, initially drawing 300 new members daily and reaching over 1,500 before the weekend. Due to Seth being out of town on a prior business commitment that week, Seth was unable to meet with Sarnoff’s office until the following Monday, at which point there were over 1,500 members. The Commissioner’s office was extremely surprised and impressed with the group’s growth, however they said that it would not be enough to sway the decision mainly because many of the groups members did not reside within the city limits and therefore equal votes. Seth began working on petitioning around The City of Miami, dropping off petitions at local businesses and petitioning in person on the streets along with other members of the group. He was surprised to find that response on the street was even greater than the response online. Obtaining over 50 signatures per hour, the estimated total signatures in just five days is now well over 1,000 and growing. As of this email, he has also launched the MiamiSkaters.com website.
Late last week, Seth was again contacted by Commissioner Sarnoff’s office with their desire to hold an event with the local pro-skate park population featuring the environmental awareness of the local skateboarding population. This event, featuring the screening of a new DisneyNature film “Earth” and speakers discussing skateboarding and environmental awareness will be held on Monday, July 19th at 6:30 PM at City Hall with a pre-meeting at the One Cool World park for the pro-skatepark community at 5:30 PM. This event will clearly demonstrate to the City of Miami how organized and influential the local skateboard community is and that their voices should be heard. Attached is a poster for the event.
Seth Levy does not want to make this project nor any story about it about himself. He is in the leadership position that he is because of his unique expertise as someone who has significant experience getting skate parks built, and as a Jewish person affiliated with Temple Israel, the same synagogue from which only a few but rather vocal skateboard park detractors are coming from.
More Info: www.miamiskaters.com