Summer 1995 – Beautification plan was a lie

By Fran Zion, Esq.

Over one year ago as Miami prepared to host the Summit of the Americas and the Superbowl, the City of Miami and the Florida Department of Transportation announced the commencement of a project, “The Beautification of Brickell.” The plan included repairing and repaving the street surface of Brickell, adding new trees and foliage, and installing a porous pipe irrigation system down the center median. Brickell was to be restored to its pre-Hurricane Andrew splendor.

The beautification of Brickell was a lie! Why? Because what you see is what you get!

The Street

The street surface is to remain as is. The contractor was not asked or required by FDOT to mix a concrete that, when cured, would match the old concrete. Therefore, we have been left with an ugly patchwork mess. FDOT has said it will not spend the funds to resurface the street or make the surfaces match.

The Median Landscaping

Where is the foliage that was supposed to be the glorious centerpiece of the plan? When asked, FDOT said they had an approved plan that BHA residents saw, and if we are not happy with the small, dead trees and haphazard planting it is our own fault. However, when we ask to review what was approved, those plans are no longer available to us.

A professional landscape architect has reviewed the residential area’s trees and ground cover. He has confirmed that the ground cover is the type that requires extensive maintenance. He gave suggestions for a lush, low maintenance ground cover and full trees that will provide a canopy. You ask, the City’s response? The City planner and FDOT have said, mind your own business; we’re going to do it our way. If no one likes it when it’s finished, then let the residents spend their own hard-earned dollars to change it.

The foliage design of Brickell Avenue has been chopped in two. The business section runs from the new bridge to 15th Road. That section has been designed by a privately hired landscape architect. The residential section, from 15th Road to 25th Road has been left to the whim of the FDOT and City planner.

Does this mean the business district should not worry about their foliage? Wrong! While their private architect’s plan is impressive, the entire street is to be maintained by the City of Miami. Let me ask you, have you seen how high the grass is lately? Can anyone see over the grass? Where exactly are the City crews? These are the people that are to maintain our neighborhood.

This should not only scare but infuriate you. These guys are spending our tax dollars and destroying our property values. In comparison to the private grounds of the condos that line Brickell Avenue, “The Beautification of Brickell” is only a reminder of the destruction of the beauty that originally brought us to this area.

The residents of Brickell Avenue contribute 9.3 percent of the total residential tax revenue for the City of Miami. The average property value on this street is at least $150,000. If we allow the FDOT to walk away from this project without responsibility to this area, it will send a message to treat the rest of South Florida likewise and eventually we shall be ashamed of it all.

We have the power to send a message to the elected officials and others involved. This is our neighborhood. If we don’t care, no one else will.

What Should You Do?

Get mad. Get involved. Lend your voice through sharing your support. If you care, let the FDOT and the City of Miami know before they finish spending your money and leave you with a blighted neighborhood. Call or write to:

Locally:

Jose Abreu, P.E. Phone: 470-5197

District Secretary, District VI

Florida Department of Transportation

1000 NW 111 Ave.

Miami, FL 33172

 

Jim Kay Phone: 579-6865

City of Miami Public Works Department

275 NW 2nd St.

Miami, FL 33128

 

In Tallahassee:

Buddy Marucoux Phone: (904) 488-6721

Assistant Secretary of Transportation/District Ops.

605 Swanee St.

Tallahassee, FL 32399

Please include in your letter “State Project #87030-3514 Repaving SR5/US1″ and provide me with a copy of correspondence you send. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact me:

Fran Zion, Law Offices of Vargas & Zion

9350 S. Dixie Hwy., PH 2, Miami, FL 33156

Phone: 670-9994. Fax: 670-0948

From BHA News, Summer 1995, Vol. V, No. 2