Village Life

A New Look for Peacock Park

One of Coconut Grove’s most iconic parks may soon look a little different.

The culprit? Climate change.

Peacock Park is the proposed site of a shoreline stabilization project that aims to combat the effects of sea level rise on the 9-acre waterfront park.

A landscaped berm with a sidewalk will hug the existing shoreline along Biscayne Bay to protect the park and its inland playing fields. Design plans call for a new kayak launch as well on the north end of the park’s 500-foot shoreline.

The proposed changes were previewed at a public meeting in late February attended by approximately two dozen people. The design of the project is about 36% complete and city officials say public feedback will be incorporated into the final design. 

In 1883, Peacock Park was the site of the first hotel on the mainland south of Palm Beach. The site was purchased by the city of Miami in 1934 and christened Coconut Grove Bayfront Park. In 1973, the park was renamed in honor of the original hotel, the Peacock Inn, and its owners, Charles and Isabella Peacock.

The popular park now faces a new challenge. According to the Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida, conducted by the South Florida Regional Climate Compact, seas may rise by 6 to 12 inches by 2030. As a waterfront park with a shoreline fringe of mangroves, Peacock Park is especially vulnerable.

The existing kayak/paddleboard launch at Peacock Park. Photo by Carlton Gillespie.

The proposed shoreline stabilization project is being managed by the City of Miami’s Office of Capital Improvements. The estimated cost of Phase 1 (design and permitting) is $465,000, and the initial design work was coordinated by a team from Metric Engineering and Cummins Cederberg.

The proposed berm comes with a list of proposed plantings, but the design calls for the removal of existing coconut palms located just inland of the shoreline. Swales will be placed behind the berm to capture excess runoff and an exfiltration trench will reduce drainage into the bay. The existing boardwalk will be kept in place and connected with the new berm.

In addition to the threat of sea level rise, the project is also an opportunity to improve the deteriorating shoreline and improve access to the water. Still, some of those who attended the February meeting questioned the need for the project.    

One woman said the elevated walkway would block the mangroves along the water’s edge from moving inland – a gradual process that she described as nature’s solution to sea-level rise. Still others objected to the loss of coconut palms.

The existing shoreline at Peacock Park. Photo by Carlton Gillespie.

Another concern, voiced by several participants, focused on how effective the project will be in protecting Peacock Park during a major storm event.

City officials say the project is a work in progress, and public feedback is welcome.

“We just had a meeting with the community in February to collect feedback and incorporate it into the project,” said Patricia Pocasangre, a community outreach and engagement coordinator in the Office of Capital Improvements. “We will keep the community posted on any future developments.”

For additional details on the Peacock Park Shoreline Stabilization and Kayak Launch project, or to offer your insights, please visit the City of Miami’s Office of Capital Improvements page.

FIU student Carlton Gillespie wrote this story as part of a cooperative agreement between FIU’s Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media and the Spotlight. Photos by Carlton Gillespie.

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