The City's Historic and Environmental Preservation Board recommended 9-0, that the Coconut Grove Playhouse be included on the National Register of Historic Places at Tuesday's meeting.
Architect Jorge Hernandez who is working with the county on rebuilding the playhouse spoke for the county which was in favor of the nomination, but of course only for the section that they plan on saving, offering the board county-imposed conditions. The county's plan calls for demolishing most of the playhouse.
Architect Richard Heisenbottle, Hernandez's nemesis in the project, agreed with Hernandez, but Heisenbottle wanted to be sure that the whole structure was included in the Historic Designation, so that the whole structure is preserved.
Many locals spoke up in favor of preservation and placement as a whole on the Historic Register.
Liz Gibson and Arva Moore Parks brought up the fact that Richard Kiehnel of Kiehnel and Elliott, the original architect, has many of his buildings already on the National Register of Historic Places.
"The only people who want to give it a low grade level are those who are not part of the community. It is part of the fabric of the community," said Grove activist and lifelong resident Williams Armbrister. He said that the playhouse looks as it always has except for one side on Charles Avenue that had open window access at one time.
Board member Lynn Lewis felt that the county was inaccurate. She felt that the property included events that took place inside the whole structure.
What is ironic is that after Hurricane Andrew, the City of Miami wanted to tear down the stadium because they said the structure was unsafe. Of course that was not true.
It makes you think about the Playhouse. Are those who feel it should be torn down doing the same thing that the city did in 1992 - claiming it is unsafe or not viable without any accuracy?