Miami neighbors seeing red after city installs plastic grass

Residents say recent AstroTurf makeover will harm trees

By Todd Tongen - Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI - There is a turf war is brewing in a Brickell neighborhood over a beautification project residents say is ugly and destructive. The city ripped out grass along Brickell Bay Drive and Brickell Avenue and installed AstroTurf.

“It is silly. I mean it is going to kill the trees. There is concrete underneath this fake grass,” resident Eddie Winitz said.

Miriam Merino, who heads up a group called Brickell Watch, is leading an effort to collect signatures for a petition to get the city to remove the fake grass.

“They put toxic lime rock that inhibits the growth of plants, then they pour cement, then there is epoxy glass and then they glue the grass on top. So the water will not get through. The roots will not be able to breathe, and it is just going to be a disaster.” Merino said.

The Astroturf was part of larger beautification project in the neighborhood that cost more than $300,000. Merino calls it the “plastification” of Miami.

When the project first started, the concrete was flush with the base of the tree trunk. After residents complained about the tree not being able to get any water crews, came back out and removed the concrete from the base.

The biggest question everyone has: Why did they do it in the first place?

“Is the problem real grass won’t grow here? No we have always had real grass. It wasn't a problem,” Winitz said.

Neighbors think it is also unsanitary for their pets.

“The plastic grass keeps the pee of the dogs and the poop doesn't disintegrate. Plus the materials that they used to put down this grass choke the roots of the trees,” Merino said

We reached out to Mayor Francis Suarez for comment but he didn't get back to us but Merino said she spoke to him and he took credit for the project.

“Yes he likes it and he also said AstroTurf was the way to go in many areas of Miami,” she said.

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