Greed and poor stewardship of the Morikami Park have turned this one time tranquil oasis of a public park into a fenced off, ugly playground for the wealthy.
Could you imagine waking one day to discover that Central Park or Golden Gate Park had been enclosed in
high, ugly black chain link fencing and now you had to
pay $10 just to stroll in the park?
This is exactly what has happened at the Morikami Park!
This once public park that was donated to Palm Beach County, on the condition that it forever remain a public park is now "a participant in public-private partnership between The Morikami, Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and Palm Beach County."
What used to be a beautiful park is now an eyesore
and, in essence, stolen from the public it belongs to.
What used to be a tranquil place for recreation is now an organization concerned about "head count" at events
and finding new ways to make money, while the preservation of the park has taken a back seat.
Please take a moment to read on and learn a little bit more about Morikami Park, it's history and why a total boycott is the only way to bring Palm Beach County to their senses and revert the park to its intended use by the public.
George Morikami was an early settler in Palm Beach County. He came from Japan to work with the Yamato Colony, a group of Japanese who came to South Florida to farm the land.
Life was not easy for Mr. Morikami. In addition to the hardships of farming in such an undeveloped, inhospitable place, he suffered during World War 2 when the Yamato Colony's land
was confiscated by the United States Government to create a military air base.
He went on to eventually buy other land to farm in Palm Beach County. The Yamato Colony eventually failed due to competition in the pineapple market from Cuba and the lack of Japanese women who came with the men. Mr. Morikami, however, chose to stay on.
He continued to buy farm land and grow various crops.
While a lesser man may have become bitter at the confiscation of his countrymens private property, George Morikami decided that, after his death, he would donate his
private land to Palm Beach County.
He wanted the land to "forever remain a public park and recreational area". If the County was unable to maintain the land as such, it was to be returned to his heirs.
He filed two "Quit Claim Deeds" with the County.
One was filed on 09/14/1973 and the other was filed on 10/28/1975. These were filed while Mr. Morikami was still alive and conveyed his true wishes in donating the land to Palm Beach County.
can be viewed on the Palm Beach County Official Records Search. Search for the word "Morikami" at: http://www.pbcountyclerk.com/records_home.html
Once you arrive at the Palm Beach County Public Records site, click on "get image".
You will see that George Morikami's plan was for his donated land to "forever remain a public park and recreational area"!
For many years, the Morikami Park was one of the most beautiful and serene places to visit in Palm Beach County. A small museum was built to explain the history of the Yamato Colony and the life of George Morikami.
Mr. Morikami's documents never mentioned the creation of a museum, but the grounds remained free for the public to visit and there was only a nominal charge to visit the small museum.
There were many things to see and do for free at the park.
You could hike the nature trails, view their bonsai collection, feed the koi and turtles in the large lake and just soak in the uniquely serene atmosphere the park had.
Years later, a rather expensive, modern museum was constructed on the grounds. The park still remained free for the public to visit. This policy continued for a number of years.
Within the last several years, the park has taken a decided turn for the worse. Due to poor stewardship of Mr. Morikami's precious gift, the park is no longer free for the public! Even if you only wish to stroll through the grounds, there is a $10 charge for adults!
Ten dollars to visit a park that was donated to the County!.
Worse yet, the Morikami Park is now surrounded by
hundreds of yards of ugly, locked, high black chain link fence. The Morikami Park now looks from the outside like a cross between a private country club and a prison camp!
To show just how far the Park has come Mr. Morikami's
initial vision, you can now book private events at the park for over $7,000!
Now, much of "Old Florida" has been lost, never to return, but here is one piece of that treasure that can be easily returned to its original state.
I recommend a two pronged approach...
1) Boycott the Morikami Museum and Park! If nobody pays to see what George Morikami meant to be open to the public, they will be forced to reconsider their policies.
2) Write and call Palm Beach County's Commisioners and the the Morikami Museum and Park and express your outrage at this thoughtless desecration of Mr. Morikami's gift to the people!.
A complete listing of the seven County Commisioners can be found at:
By clicking each of their photos, you can obtain their phone numbers and e-mail addresses so you may contact them.
By the way,don't bother contacting Warren Newell.
This Palm Beach County Commissioner is charged with using his position to enrich himself, as a few other Palm Beach County politicians.
It appears that he is headed for jail. This is the type of people we have entrusted the future of the Morikami Park to!
The Morikami Park and Museum's contact info:
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens:
4000 Morikami Park Road
Delray Beach, FL 33446
News and Press:
Finally, contact Dennis Eshelman at:
Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department
2700 6th Ave South
Lake Worth, Florida 33461-4799
I urge anyone who truly cares about the Morikami Park to take the time to call or
e-mail the County Commisioners, the Morikami Park and Museum and The Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department and
demand the restoration of
free access to our shared heritage.