Written by Miami Today on May 25, 2006
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
HOTEL PERMIT SOUGHT: Brickell developer Tibor Hollo is asking Miami city commissioners today (5/25) for a major use special permit to build Hotel De L’Opera at 1771 NE Fourth Ave. The hotel would be 400 feet tall with 34 stories and include 350 rooms, 44,606 square feet of office space, 5,886 square feet of retail space and 309 parking spaces.
BRICKELL CENTER: Tiner USA Inc. is asking Miami commissioners today for a major use special permit to build the West Brickell Center at 240-270 and 290 SW 10th St. and 245, 251-253, 255 and 267 SW 11th St. The project will include 192 units, 2,780 square feet of retail space and 323 parking spaces.
GABLES TROLLEY ROUTE: A north-south route on Ponce de Leon Boulevard between Southwest Eighth Street and Flagler is what transit consulting firm David Plummer & Associates deems the best for the Coral Gables trolley service. "The traffic advisory board saw the northern route as a good option to start with," said Jim Kay, project engineer with the City of Coral Gables. The next step is the Coral Gable City Commission. A three-month feasibility study considered extending routes for the trolley, which has approximately 4,000 riders daily.
TRAINING ASSISTANCE: The City of Miami is contributing $5,000 to the Florida Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates Inc. for the National Training Convention scheduled for July 30-Aug. 3 in Fort Myers.
CPR INITIATIVE: One thousand Miami residents will be trained in CPR if Miami city commissioners approve a request today (5/25) by the Department of Fire Rescue to buy and install 66 defibrillators firefighters will use to train Miami residents. The money to purchase the machines is coming from a $200,000 grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida.
HELP FOR VETS: Miami City Commissioner Joe Sanchez wants military veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan to have the benefits and assistance they need to live in Miami. The commissioner is proposing today (5/25) to create a group that would develop a veteran’s assistance program that would include housing and employment assistance.
SIGNAGE CRACKDOWN: Miami-Dade County officials have identified 62 billboards and murals in unincorporated areas that violate the county’s sign code. Responding to an April request by Commissioner Carlos Gimenez to examine potentially illegal signs throughout the county, Sam Walthour, director of Team Metro, said at the May 17 Intergovernmental Recreation and Cultural Affairs Committee that 46 of the 62 cases have been resolved and the remaining 16 must comply, apply for a code hearing by May 31 or face a civil injunction. Mr. Walthour said Team Metro is reviewing potential sign violations in municipalities.
TRASH PHOTOGRAPHY: Illegal dumpers might find themselves caught on Miami-Dade County’s own version of "Candid Camera" under a proposal that just won unanimous backing from the Infrastructure and Land Use Committee of the county commission. The committee directed County Manager George Burgess to determine whether it’s feasible to rotate 25 cameras around county hot spots to ferret out and prosecute illegal dumpers. If the entire commission approves, Mr. Burgess would have 45 days to report his findings.
EXECUTIVE DECISION: In February, the county barred airline use of Opa-locka Airport. Now, commissioners want to make it even plainer by changing the name to Opa-locka Executive Airport. By unanimous vote, the county commission’s Regional Transportation Committee voted last week to send to the full commission a name-change directive for the airport, which has one of the nation’s longest runways and was the target of efforts several years ago to bring in commercial airliners. By February vote, the airport now is targeted for private and corporate jets, aviation companies and flying clubs.
PRICE RISE MODERATES: Consumer prices in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area rose 5.5% in April from April 2005, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. It was the same as the increase in the second half of 2005 but smaller than the 6.1% recorded in February. The increase for all of last year was a decade-high 4.7%. The 2004 increase was 2.8%.
MUSEUM EXTENSION: The Historical Museum of Southern Florida will stay at the Miami-Dade Cultural Center for at least five years after a unanimous vote of the Intergovernmental Recreation and Cultural Affairs Committee at its May 17 meeting. The committee approved an agreement between Miami-Dade County and the Historical Association of Southern Florida to keep the museum at the complex for five years with an option for another five. The association has operated the museum at 101 W. Flagler St. since 1984. The contract includes a joint agreement to collect archeological materials in Miami-Dade at no cost to the county.
ANYONE FOR TENNIS? The Intergovernmental Recreation and Cultural Affairs Committee voted unanimously May 17 to accept a $2,500 grant from the United States Tennis Association to provide equipment for Camp Matecumbe, 13841 SW 120th St., and Coral Estates Park, 1405 SW 97th Ave. Both facilities run after-school and summer tennis programs for children with disabilities. Miami-Dade County will not be required to match the grant.
BIOTECH INCUBATOR ON WAY: South Florida biotech firms will have a new place to innovate and grow with a planned 2008 opening of Nova Southeastern University’s $30 million Collaborative Research Center. Nova’s trustees approved the project May 19. "Twenty months from now, we should be open for business," said Chief Operating Officer George Hanbury II. The five-floor, 300,000-square-foot building on the Davie campus is to include 280,000 square feet of wet-lab space where chemicals, drugs or other material or biological matter could be analyzed. South Florida has little if any wet-lab space, he said. The plan is for biotech startups to collaborate with school researchers, he said. Fledgling information-technology companies also will be eligible. "As long as they have some educational bent to their research," they can receive Nova’s incubation services, he said. The building also will house the US Geological Survey’s South Florida Science Center, serving as headquarters for the $8 billion Everglades restoration research and educational project of Nova, Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida.
LEGISLATIVE RECAP: Marco Rubio, speaker-designate of the Florida House of Representatives, will discuss the recently concluded session of the Florida Legislature at an Of Importance to Brickell lunch presented by the Brickell Area Association and Miami Today. The noon June 14 event will be at Mosaico Restaurant, 1000 S. Miami Ave. Association members $45, others $50. RSVP: (305) 375-0080.
GLOBAL CULTURAL LINKS: Miami’s global arts and cultural links will be the topic of an International Roundtable featuring panelists who will include William H. Banchs, president of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts; Michael Hardy, president and CEO of the Performing Art Center Trust of Greater Miami; Michael Spring, director of the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs; and Michael Wharton, director of the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts. The program, presented by Miami Today and sponsored by the Miami Parking Authority and the Olympia Theater, will be in the theater at 5 p.m. June 8. RSVP: Jannina Roman, (305) 358-2663.