Developing: Developer Removes Plaques At Historic Garden Of Our Lord Before Appeal Complete, “As Instructed By The Commission”

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
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On Monday, January 23rd, the historic plaques on the perimeter fence of Coral Gables’ Historic Garden of Our Lord were removed by the developer.

Residents immediately contacted City Hall and were informed that the City was not aware of any approved actions to remove the plaques.

However, sources inform Gables Insider that the developer’s attorney, Jorge Navarro, informed the City Attorney’s office that the actions were taken “as instructed by the Commission.”

The response has only caused more concern to residents who have been seeking the historic designation of the Garden, as Navarro’s words seem to imply that the appeal process may be futile if the City Commission has already been giving the developer instructions.

The City Commission has not heard this item nor have they had any formal discussions regarding the garden. A search of the City’s website shows no notices for special Commission meetings either.

The removal of the historic plaques interferes with any potential designation of the garden as historic, as it compromises the historical components of the garden. This has raised questions by some in the community on whether the move was taken in order to invalidate arguments about the historical components of the garden.

A visit by Gables Insider to the site showed damage to the coral rock where the plaques were located, with pieces of rock cracked and found on the ground in the surrounding areas.

Calls to the City Attorney were not returned.

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24 thoughts on “Developing: Developer Removes Plaques At Historic Garden Of Our Lord Before Appeal Complete, “As Instructed By The Commission”

  1. Meh. The idea of government for the people is clearly passe in this community.
    Years back the straw vote for Pets Trust was 67% in favor of it but the county mayor and commissioners knew better than those of us who legitimately voted for the Trust. We continue to have a horrific reputation as one of the worst large community animal shelters in the country.
    If county commissioners can so blatantly defy the citizenry why should we expect anything better here in Coral Gables?
    All citizens are these days is chumps. Money leads no matter the issue. So why should the commission worry about a small green spot in a Gables that is fast being overrun with immense new projects.
    In the next few years I will downsize. Coral Gables holds no attraction to me for resettling here. The only positive point for staying in this city is the excellent first responders.
    Pols talk a good talk. Sad they can’t walk it.

  2. This is what happens when people elect these corrupt garbage into office. They don’t care about the people, none of them do. All they are interested in is lining their pockets. The main and likely only thing to do is electing them out of office

  3. To The Mayor of Coral Gables .The City Commissioners and the Historic Preservation Board,
    The Garden of our Lord must be designated historic. We support its historic designation application.
    It meets several criteria for designation. It is a unique landmark in the city of Coral Gables.
    The Garden of our Lord is part of a II green corridor (I which runs from East Ponce until the Douglas
    Entrance. It is lined with specimen trees covered with Spanish Moss. The Garden is an essential part of
    the neighborhood and it meets the city’s criteria for historic designation under the category of aesthetic
    significance because it “is an easily identifiable feature of its neighborhood,” Not only does the
    developer want to demolish the Garden but he also wants to remove the specimen trees which line the
    swale on Antilla avenue and East Ponce. We strongly object to the developer removing allthe trees from
    the swale on Antilla avenue and East Ponce.
    The Garden is also more than worthy of historic designation because of its architecture. It was
    designed by noted architect, Robert Fitch Smith. Smith incorporated coral rock into the Garden’s bench,
    wall, grotto and walkways to compliment The Woman’s Club which sits on the adjacent block. Joanna
    Lombard and Rocco Ceo wrote the architectural criteria for the Garden’s historic designation. We agree
    with the we” respected Professors of Architecture at the University of Miami Ceo and Lombard that the
    Garden must be designated historic.
    We also want to state that the zoning for the block upon which the Garden sits is designated SPECIAL
    USE. The zoning for that block was never meant for live/work or residential use. Itis in a residential
    neighborhood and offices should not encroach into a resldential neighborhood. The city must not allow
    the developer to get a variance to change the zoning from SPECIALUSE.
    We support The Garden of our Lord’s historic designation application.
    For more information, contact Bonnie Bolton at 305-443-7676 if you would like to copy, sign, and send to our Mayor and Commissioners!

  4. Regarding Gables Parks & Ms Bolton. There was a huge oak tree across the street from city hall. Mrs R Bolton prevented the expansion/ improvement of this park because she liked the tree. Ironically the we lost the opportunity to have a safer, bigger town square because of Roxy & the City later removed her beloved Oak.

    Both sides lost. Was it vindictivenes?

  5. The plaques of these war heroes will be better honored at the War Auditorium that at some abandoned park. Also consider that the developer is going to include the facilities for the school for children with disabilities. I think that we should all be grateful that this school will help these children OUR FUTURE PEOPLE !!!!!

  6. The prevailing attitude by the powers that be towards the residents seems to be that we all are a nuisance and undeserving of any consideration when it comes to running this city.
    I and many others have complained and pointed out the ruinous condition of the Ponce de Leon Blvd. pavement between Coral Way and the Trail without any results.
    The elevator in the city parking lot next to Publix breaks constantly and remains broken for days on end which in my opinion is in flagrant violation of disabled access regulations.
    I am therefore not surprised about these abuses in the handling of these plaques.

  7. Boy, it didn’t take them any time at all! During the meeting, the developer’s counsel stated that they would make a good faith effort to “sit down” and work with concerned citizens. Is this their definition of “working with?” Egregious and despicable.

  8. City elections are fast approaching and we must FIRE ALL INCUMBENTS!!! They are ALL DISHONEST AND DO NOT PAY ATTENTION. TO WHAT THE OWNERS OF THE CITY WANT!
    Please vote.

  9. I do not care to opine on the merits of the historical designation of the Garden.

    But it is crazy banana’s how Jorge Navarro’s boss is none other than Mayor Stinky Vinny’s brother. I never understood how Vinny is allowed to vote on all these matters when the result of his vote directly benefits his family. Not to mention the direct benefit Stinky Vinny gets. If anyone cares to see more, just look at Stinky Vinny’s campaign contribution list. Mostly developers that use Mr. Navarro’s firm. Just one big stinky circle.

    Y’all want to break this cycle, just point your anger towards Stinky Vinny!

    Love,
    Pete Money

  10. This is the same commisssion that believes that the egg came before the chicken. They get everything backwards just like they did by voting to replace a commission vacancy before listening to all the candidates. We need more forward thinking commissioners and we must remember that at the next election in April. Next time vote for commissioners who have their head on straight and their hands out of the pockets of the developers!

  11. Sounds like the developer wanted to preempt and invalidate any attempts for a Historical Designation by destroying components that could support such designation. This garden is of historical importance to the community. PLEASE give it the Historical Designation and PLEASE preserve it.

  12. I’m sorry. It was a rinky dink unkept garden. Who cares. Move on. Historic places DO matter, but this was not one of them.

  13. A few weeks ago I spoke with Bonnie Bolton and I told her I would write a letter in support of the the historical designation of the Garden of Our Lord. I wrote the letter, but never sent it, since I realized that letters sent to individuals, and not publicly published, are just ignored. This venue will reach many more of my neighbors than one to the City Officials.
    The controversy over the Garden of Our Lord is about Faith and Money. Those of us who have Faith, value our believes, over income and pray for the Salvation of our souls and reaching the God we pray to.
    Those, to whom income is the ultimate goal, often pray for profits over everything else.
    The City Coral Gables is a democracy, where we vote on our elected officials who spend our taxes on all kinds of material things; palm trees, rooster statures on sidewalks, metal figurines in traffic circles, and all kinds of decorations for us to gaze at. Those are food for the eyes.
    Now we need to put the purchase of the Garden of Our Lord to a vote so that we can get food for our
    Souls. Whatever his price is, I am certain that a “fund me” page for the purchase of the Garden of Our Lord, will meet his price. Let’s put the purchase of the Garden to a vote. I know that the majority of Coral Gables resident will vote to maintain the Garden in our city and, as I am willing to do, contribute to its purchase for the City with a caveat that the Garden can’t ever be sold. There will even be enough money for it’s maintenance for years to come. Let’s move the heart of the developer with what makes it tick; Money. We are a wealthy city, we can meet his price and preserve a Sacred Place, where we can all go pray. A football stadium became a House of Prayer on January 3, 2023, when we a young man collapsed on the field. The entire country prayed and is still praying for his recovery. We all need a place to pray. When we move on from this life, and face our Creator, let the resume of our lives on Earth show the contribution to the saving of His Garden, rather than Condominiums, palm trees and metal structures. I can’t purchase the Garden by myself, but I will donate to its purchase by the residents of the City of Coral Gables, a select group to which I have belonged for over 30 years.
    Let’s put the purchase of the Garden Of Our Lord to a vote and put our money behind our vote. May we all have Faith and join in this Crusade. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts.

  14. A few weeks ago I spoke with Bonnie Bolton and I told her I would write a letter in support of the the historical designation of the Garden of Our Lord. I wrote the letter, but never sent it, since I realized that letters sent to individuals, and not publicly published, are just ignored. This venue will reach many more of my neighbors than one to the City Officials.
    The controversy over the Garden of Our Lord is about Faith and Money. Those of us who have Faith, value our believes, over income and pray for the Salvation of our souls and reaching the God we pray to.
    Those, to whom income is the ultimate goal, often pray for profits over everything else.
    The City Coral Gables is a democracy, where we vote on our elected officials who spend our taxes on all kinds of material things; palm trees, rooster statures on sidewalks, metal figurines in traffic circles, and all kinds of decorations for us to gaze at. Those are food for the eyes.
    Now we need to put the purchase of the Garden of Our Lord to a vote so that we can get food for our
    Souls. Whatever his price is, I am certain that a “fund me” page for the purchase of the Garden of Our Lord, will meet his price. Let’s put the purchase of the Garden to a vote. I know that the majority of Coral Gables resident will vote to maintain the Garden in our city and, as I am willing to do, contribute to its purchase for the City with a caveat that the Garden can’t ever be sold. There will even be enough money for it’s maintenance for years to come. Let’s move the heart of the developer with what makes it tick; Money. We are a wealthy city, we can meet his price and preserve a Sacred Place, where we can all go pray. A football stadium became a House of Prayer on January 3, 2023, when we a young man collapsed on the field. The entire country prayed and is still praying for his recovery. We all need a place to pray. When we move on from this life, and face our Creator, let the resume of our lives on Earth show the contribution to the saving of His Garden, rather than Condominiums, palm trees and metal structures. I can’t purchase the Garden by myself, but I will donate to its purchase by the residents of the City of Coral Gables, a select group to which I have belonged for over 30 years.
    Let’s put the purchase of the Garden Of Our Lord to a vote and put our money behind our vote. May we all have Faith and join in this Crusade. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts.

  15. It’s all fixed and we can’t change it. Follow the money (from the developer to the city officials).

  16. It is my understanding that Miss Bolton and her group had 10 days from the date of the Historic Preservation meeting (last Wednesday, January 18th) to appeal the Historic Board’s decision. This seemingly deliberate act of destruction to the garden wall yesterday (January 23rd) is a slap in the face to the many Coral Gables citizens who have supported Miss Bolton’s efforts. To intentionally ruin a potential historic site before a final decision is rendered should not go unpunished.

  17. To whom do you believe the plaque should be “returned?” Who owns the plaque? The person who owns the property owns the plaque!! This is PRIVATE property. If your neighbor likes your charming old broken front door and you decide to replace it with a new ugly safe door, are you obligated to “return” the door to *him*?

  18. Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?
    They paced paradise and put up a parking lot 🎶

  19. Will this plaque be returned? I have a feeling that it will NOT and we will have lost a historical part of our community. Things have a way of disappearing in our town when it is to the benefit of a few in power. The commission MUST DEMAND that it be returned. Nothing short of that will suffice.

  20. The developer and his attorney took the law into their own hands and removed the plaques. Then, they lied about lawful authority to do that. They are scum.

  21. Did not Mr Maxwell, at the Historic Preservation Meeting, advise the representative for the developer not to quickly start making arrangements for the removal of the historic plaques? And that because of the garden’s historic importance to the community, there was a good argument to preserve it?

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