Beach officials are trying to rename Island View Park in South Beach after Maurice Gibb,
the longtime Beach resident and Bee Gees singer who died Jan. 12.
Commissioners voted July 2 to put the name change on the November elections ballot.
According to city laws, name changes to public parks must be approved in a referendum.
The small park, nestled between Biscayne Bay and Purdy Avenue just east of the Venetian
Causeway, was a frequent meditation spot for the late singer, who would take breaks there
between sets at his Middle Ear recording studio at 1801 Bay Rd.
''He used to go there almost every day at lunchtime to feed the seagulls,'' said Bob
Koske, a Gibb-family friend who has pushed for the memorial. "He would sit there,
look at the water. Like anybody [who] has a little meditation spot.''
As the Bee Gees, Maurice Gibb, 53, and brothers Barry and his twin Robin were responsible
for such hits as Jive Talkin', Stayin' Alive, How Deep Is Your Love, Tragedy, Words and
Commissioner Luis Garcia, Jr., described Gibb as outgoing and approachable. He
remembered meeting Gibb as a firefighter in 1976, when the pop star asked to ride along
with his company.
''He was a fire-rescue buff,'' Garcia said. "He spent a whole day riding with me and
my partner. I really liked the man. He was very down-to-Earth.''
Garcia added that renaming the park would be a fitting tribute. ``The Bee Gees chose Miami
Beach to be their home town. They could have lived anywhere in the world.''
Beach officials also hope to place a gazebo or bench in the park to honor Gibb, but that
plan has met with some resistance from neighbors worried that it would attract homeless
people. Koske and neighbors said they plan to meet to design a memorial that both sides
could be happy with.
''All we want is a memorial,'' Koske said. "Something simple. Maurice was a simple
man. Nothing grand.''