GIBB MEMORIAL PARK TO BE PUT ON BALLOT
(Richard Brand, Miami Herald, July 10, 2003)

 

Miami 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 Lonely Days.

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.''

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