Crews clean up former Occupy Miami site

By Todd Tongen, Reporter, Anchor, ttongen@Local10.com
Published On: Feb 13 2012 11:03:52 AM EST
Updated On: Feb 13 2012 07:18:06 PM EST

Crews are working to clean up the damage left behind from the Occupy Miami camp in downtown Miami.

MIAMI -

Crews are working to clean up the damage left behind from the Occupy Miami camp in downtown Miami.

The water has been turned back on, and a dozer is hard at work on what once was the Occupy Miami camp. Protesters were evicted the end of last month, but they left behind quite a mess.

 "All the sod here was dead," said Arturo Vidal, a member of the cleanup crew.

PHOTOS: Crews work on yard

Arturo Vidal said crews essentially had to scrape the park clean. 

"We already put the new irrigation in, and I am trying to level it out so they can put down new sod and it will look nice and pretty," Vidal said. 

But this kind of makeover costs money. The county will have to shell out $10,000 to $15,000 to put the park back together. The taxpayers are on the hook. 

On the day of the eviction, however, Occupy protesters said don't blame them for the mess. 

"We had an exit strategy that we offered and proposed to them to do the landscaping ourselves," said protester Kevin Young.

As park and recreation crews work to try and fix the damage that was done by Occupy protesters outside the Stephen P. Clark building, there is not much evidence left that they were here except for these organizer flyers that were left behind. 

"I don't think the taxpayers should be responsible for that, and in fact, I am glad that they finally moved. I don't think their presence made any difference. They basically spoiled a beautiful park that we had," said Gui Elie, who doesn’t believe taxpayers should foot the bill. 

"The people who made this revolution are supposed to pay for that," said Francisco Colon, who believes the Occupy Miami protesters should pay. 

But others think the movement shouldn't be on the hook for the repairs. 

"That’s just the price of freedom of speech," said Johnny Pearson, who thinks the taxpayers should pay. 

"Does Occupy Miami have any money?" said James DuPree, who is skeptical whether the group can pay. 

That is a moot point because the county refused to include the group in its cleanup efforts. It just wanted them out. In the end, the Occupy movement that called for jobs may have been successful without trying. 

"It gives some guy a job anyway," DuPree said.

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