The Biscayne Times

Jun 02nd
A Little Means A Lot PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janet Goodman, BT Contributor   
August 2019

Proximity is key for two tiny North Bay Village parks

IParkPatrol_1n this month’s cover story, the BT looks at the Trust for Public Land’s annual assessment of U.S. city parks. North Bay Village, with a total population of 8184, is determined by TPL to provide 88 percent of its residents a ten-minute walk or less to one of its two parks. This is far above the national average of 54 percent for smaller U.S. city park systems.

While the national average for land used for parks and recreation among smaller U.S. cities is 15 percent, by comparison, North Bay Village falls below that, with a statistical 0 percent of city land used for its parks and recreation.

The Philip Schonberger Memorial Playground, still often referred to as Galleon Street Tot Lot, is located at 1841 Galleon St. on Treasure Island, next door to the North Bay Village police station. According to TPL, it serves 4160 residents who live within a ten-minute walk of the park. The 0.3-acre park was dedicated in 2001; recent renovation was completed in December 2015. Named for the former city commissioner and member of the North Bay Village zoning and recreation boards who died in 2000, this playground is a little kid’s pirate-themed adventure land.


A huge Playcraft galleon-shaped playground is the main attraction, with sails, gangplank, crow’s nest, anchor, cannons, and a slide for mutineers. A second, smaller pirate ship playhouse is at the northwest corner of the park. Other playground equipment fills out the space, including a swing set, a Boulder Stacks climber (beware of the wide-eyed gator), and other pieces by Playcraft. Shade is provided by several mature oaks, around which is glued mulch, as well as fallen leaves.

Except for its concrete walkways, the playground is surfaced with artificial turf, and is completely fenced in. To the south along Galleon Street, there is attractive four-foot, green-metal fencing with a double-gated entrance locked by working pool-safety gate latches. Another safety feature is the set of four surveillance cameras on the southeast fence line by the police station.

Four-foot chain-link fencing is shared with the police building on the east side of the park, and seven-foot fencing along the north end of the property that borders with Treasure Island Elementary School. There is a construction site along the western perimeter. Six benches dot the tiny park, and six picnic tables, four of which are under a picnic pavilion on a cement pad. Only one trash can is found near the pavilion, but the park was clean of litter on a recent BT visit.


Parking is find-it-if-you-can along the street, although this neighborhood playground is within walking distance of most residents of Treasure Island. The park’s biggest weakness is the pavilion, which can be rented out for parties but is in rough condition, with rusted roof flashing, missing shingles, and rotting wooden eaves and support columns. The playground is designed for children ages seven and younger; the north-side chain-link gate is partially ripped off its frame, and small children could easily slip through if parents aren’t closely watching them.

Just 1.3 miles away on Harbor Island is the second North Bay Village park, Dr. Paul Vogel Community Park, once known as West Drive Park. This 0.5-acre greenspace is located at 7920 West Dr. and is open to the public from sunrise to 9:00 p.m. TPL determined that it serves 3211 residents who live within a ten-minute walk.

Named for the former North Bay Village mayor, Vogel Community Park was first dedicated in 2010, then again while its renovation project was under way a month before his death in June 2012, while he was serving as a village commissioner.

ParkPatrol_4The Miami Herald reported that the renovations would cost an estimated $632,000, of which the village budgeted $217,488 from its capital improvements funds. Grants filled in the rest of the costs: $300,000 from the Safe Neighborhood Parks Program; a $60,000 Coastal Partnership Initiative grant; and a $55,000 Florida Inland Navigation District grant.

One can easily find a parking space at the West Drive entrance, walk through its double gates with pool-safety pull latches, then be hit with the spectacular view of Biscayne Bay -- approximately 175 feet of water frontage. Stroll along wide, circuitous brick paver and asphalt walkways, take in beautiful landscaping with royal palms, oaks, and flowering trees, and enjoy lunch under one of three blue-roofed pavilions (two have picnic tables on the cement pads and the other is for stage events). Need to use the restroom? There’s a bathroom building on site with separate men’s and women’s facilities. Four metal garbage receptacles help keep the park free of litter.

ParkPatrol_5Located in the southeast section of the park is a large playground for kids ages 5 to 12, protected overhead by multiple canvas sunshades and below by rubberized safety flooring, which is wearing thin in spots. There are seven slides, some climber equipment, and three metal benches around the play area. There is no need to fence in the playground since the entire 28,900-square-foot perimeter has metal park fencing.

Too bad there is nary a bench by the waterfront, but there are two attractive ceramic signs on both north and south ends of the waterfront that depict manatees and loggerhead turtles with pertinent species information. This park sports natural grass, is well maintained, and is available for party rentals. There’s a large open space in the center of the park that has storm drains to keep it dry, and is perfect for a Sunday game of catch, but no dogs are allowed. LED night lighting, bike racks, water fountains, and three adult exercise stations round out the park’s amenities.

One oddity is the ill-placed park dedication plaque, mounted on a rock and now hidden from view under a growing but very pretty plant with striking star-shaped violet flowers. The plaque could easily be moved to a more visible area.


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Philip Schonberger Memorial Playground

1841 Galleon St.
North Bay Village, FL 33141

Park Rating
palm-1 palm-1 palm-1 palm-05 palm-0

Dr. Paul Vogel Community Park

7920 West Dr.
North Bay Village, FL 33141

Park Rating
palm-1 palm-1 palm-1 palm-05 palm-0

Sunrise to 9:00 p.m.
Picnic Tables
: Yes
Barbecues: No
Picnic pavilions: Yes
Dog Park: No
Open Field: Yes
Swimming pool: No
Night lighting: Yes
Playground: Yes


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