You Miami residents may remember the brouhaha that developed around the strip mall located on U.S.-1, SW 32nd Avenue and Bird Avenue in Coconut Grove. The mall, which has been there as long as I can remember was previously home to Mervyn’s and a Kmart. The vacant property was slated to become a Home Depot store. You’d have thought that local residents would be happy, after all the closest such home improvement store was on 8th Street near 27th Avenue. But you’d have been wrong. The local residents put up a huge fuss about how their quality of life was going to be diminished by the additional traffic The Home Depot would generate. Did I mention that this location is on U.S.-1, hardly a quiet country road. The busy bodies just didn’t want the store in their neighborhood. Never mind that the location was zoned for an had always been used for retail. It was insanity.
A petition was created to block The Home Depot in the Grove and more than 1200 people signed:
We the undersigned voters ask the City Commission to reject any application(s) from the Home Depot for the utilization of the Kmart facility located on Bird Rd and McDonald. The placement of a Home Depot will drastically increase crime, decrease property value and cause a traffic problem the size of which the Grove has yet to experience.
Well, The Home Depot won the battle and the store was ultimately opened. Since I now work in the area I stopped by because I needed to pick up a new fixture for my shower. It was 7:00 PM and the place was empty. Granted the economy is suffering and it was a weeknight but so what? The neighbors didn’t complain that it was only going to be an issue on weekends. They felt that this store, for whatever reason, was going to attract throngs of people like never before. I never got that. It’s not like Home Depot is the last Coca-Cola in the desert.
I can honestly say that in the great battle of The Home Depot, the good guys won.