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PARKnership working to SAVE The Alhambra Water Tower

Fewell Park, Coral Gables, FloridaCoral Gables enjoys the reputation of being one of the most desirable places in the world in which to live. While all great cities have unique and defining characteristics, often their parks and public spaces best reflect their commitment to a higher quality of life for their residents. (pictured: Fewell Park) An alliance between private citizens, corporate citizens, and City government, PARKNERSHIP was created to underwrite improvements and acquisitions, such as increasing outdoor space, and improving parks and bridges in the "City Beautiful". Matching City funds double the impact of your contribution, and sponsors enjoy tax benefits and permanent recognition at City Hall.

PARKnership's focus on community projects that can be enjoyed by everyone is under the guidance of Fund Holder Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk who is currently steering the effort to refurbish the cherished Alhambra Circle Water Tower landmark. Vice Mayor Kerdyk plans to designate $20,000 from his fund, and working with the Save The Alhambra Water Tower Campaign, raise the balance. If you would like to contribute, please contact Kendell Turner | 305-446-2586, or send your checks made payable to the Coral Gables Community Foundation with a "water tower" notation, and send it to Mrs. Kendell Turner, c/o Kerdyk Real Estate, 2631 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, FL 33134.

We hope you will join our efforts to ensure green and open spaces for a better quality of life for all of us, today, and, for future generations. For more information, please call the Foundation at 305.446.9670.

Granada Bridge To Get Aesthetic Makeover Thanks to Parknership Program

Coral Gables, FL | June 9, 2009

Onlookers from land and sea in Coral Gables will see a noticeable change at the Granada bridge over the already picturesque Coral Gables – Mahi Waterway. The concrete bridge that crosses over the Mahi Waterway between Alfonso Avenue and South Alhambra Circle will get a new look, thanks to a public/private partnership that involves the neighborhood and the help of community donations.

Granada Bridge, Coral Gables, Florida"Several neighbors approached me about aesthetically enhancing the bridges in the City," says Coral Gables Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk Jr., who presented the project to his colleagues on the City Commission last March. After getting the initial approval from city leaders, several meetings between residents and city staff were conducted to talk about the logistics of the project. A key part of the discussions was funding: $20,000-$25,000 would be needed to prepare the bridge and apply the multiple layers of mineral paints and patinas required to achieve the classic, conservative look.

Vice Mayor Kerdyk proposed working with the Coral Gables Community Foundation's PARKnership, a public/private program that raises funds to preserve green spaces, create and enhance parks, and renovate landmarks. "A perfect fit," he says, explaining that the PARKnership would fund the initial pilot of painting the Granada bridge, with hopes to continue similar work on other bridges.

Coral Gables has 47 miles of waterways, with 18 bridges. Although not all are maintained by the municipality, officials are hopeful that success with city bridges will help convince others to follow suit. The Granada Mahi bridge is one of the oldest. Built in an arch deck style in 1930, the bridge has about 8,000 square feet of surface area including beautiful balustrades and a large inner arch. Residents of the South Gables area, like Peter Hairston, who frequently cruises the waterways and traverses the bridges, wanted to improve the aesthetics of their facades and the adjoining landscaping as part of a revitalization of the waterways.

"As residents of Coral Gables for the past 10 years, my family and I have enjoyed the aesthetic beauty of the City's neighborhoods, streets and waterways. It has long been my feeling, however, that the bridges gracing our waterways could look better. They are a tribute in architectural design, but the present white-washed finishes do not do them justice. Many friends and fellow residents have expressed the same opinion, and this has prompted our initiative." Starting late last year, Hairston, has led the charge to unite neighbors and the city in order to move the project forward.

The color selection for the Granada bridge will simulate that of the DeSoto Fountain and the Alhambra Water Tower, replicating years of natural weathering and more in tune with the Mediterranean look sought by city founder George Merrick. The mineral paints that will be used are eco-friendly, all natural and beautiful in earth tones," says Hairston after meeting with the City's architect to select city-approved colors and finishes. The patinas change with light reflecting from the water and moisture from rainfall makes them darker and richer.

Crews are expected to begin work this week, first by pressure-cleaning, sealing and priming the bridge. Two or more layers of mineral paints will then be applied and a professional artist specialized in this type of process will provide finishing details. The work is expected to take about two weeks, weather permitting.

After work on the Granada bridge is finished, the expectation is that residents will want to see the same process applied to other nearby bridges such as the Maynada Street and Hardee Road bridges. For this, more supplemental funding will be required and plans are to do additional fundraising through the Community Foundation's PARKnership. "This is a feel-good project, for sure," says Vice Mayor Kerdyk. "These bridges really give you the feeling of being in the Miami Riviera and I’m glad the community is getting involved to make things happen."

For more information on the project, upcoming events and how to donate funds, please contact Peter Hairston at 305-740-2922 or or at the PARKnership Program by calling Gina Green at 305-446-2586.

In the photograph standing over the Granada bridge (before painting) are, from left to right: Gil Reisinger of Reisinger Painting, Patrick Nolan of Riviera Neighborhood Association, Coral Gables Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk, Andria Hanley of Coral Gables Community Foundation and Coral Gables resident Peter Hairston.


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