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The Underline Moving on a Steady Path

Special to BHA News by Meg Daly – It may have been summertime, but Friends of The Underline didn’t take a vacation. That’s probably why The Underline is the fastest-moving project of its scope in the country!

Since we incorporated in January 2014 as a 501C3 non-profit, we have hit many major milestones in record time. With the support of the University of Miami School of Architecture, we completed two design studios in 2014 which paved the way for the beginning of our professional design process last year.

Bringing the best to the project

In 2015 we had six public meetings and completed The Underline 10-mile master plan by the renowned NYC-based James Corner Field Operations (responsible for the High Line in NYC and many other visionary projects around the world.) During that time, many of you came to our public meetings and helped us define the design vision for the future Brickell Backyard which was completed last winter.

Public and private partners provide seed funding

We also went to work raising public and private funds to start building in the Brickell area. We raised $3 million dollars from Miami-Dade County, $2 million from the State of Florida, $1 million from the City of Miami and $1 million from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). We recently announced a $600,000 contribution from Swire Properties and that we are a winner of a $250,000 Knight Cities Challenge grant for our Brickell Backyard: Outdoor Gym. We have also received donations from Florida Blue, Pinnacle Housing Group, Banyan Capital Partners, Mary Brickell Village and most recently, Publix Charities.

Each public funding source has its own requirements and uses. The Miami-Dade County funding was used to commission a study that proved The Underline will increase capacity on US1 by reducing traffic. This is achieved by taking cars off roads as people walk and bike rather than drive.

The study took more than 10 months to execute to secure approval from Miami-Dade County Public Works to use the funds. The Florida Department of Transportation and the State of Florida funding can only be used for building the trail and the City of Miami funding can be used for building park spaces.

Why are we talking so much about money?

Because it will take substantial public and private funds to build The Underline. We believe in our mission of making Miami more walkable, bikeable, more connected and sustainable. We believe that adding 10 acres of open space in the Brickell area alone is important and will greatly improve Brickell area residents’ quality of life. We think it is important to have safe, lit paths for people to walk and bike in their neighborhoods. And, we are working intensely to start building The Underline in the Fall of 2017.

Sign up at theunderline.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @theunderlinemia for ongoing updates.

Thanks for the support!  Friends of The Underline. •