New Board Asked To Monitor County Beautification Projects
By Victor Cruz
The county on Tuesday plans to give permanent life to a Community Image Advisory Board that will become responsible for identifying and overseeing beautification projects for areas heavily used by tourists.
Led by Commissioner Dennis Moss, the board’s job will be to advise county officials on a comprehensive plan for maintenance problems and aesthetic improvements for roads frequently used by visitors to Miami-Dade County. The group will present quarterly reports to the county commission.
"It’s a multiyear process and you need someone constantly advocating or it will fall by the wayside," Mr. Moss said.
During a yearlong pilot program, the 17-member board has already identified four areas that need work – the county’s US 1 corridor, 27th Avenue, State Road 836 and, under the heading of transportation gateways, Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami.
"We want to do this work in phases. We came up with these four major projects. We will identify other projects in future," Mr. Moss said.
The all-voluntary advisory board has already identified four areas along US 1 and estimated costs for improvements, with and without irrigation, at $3.2 million and $2.2 million respectively.
Through the board’s efforts, the City of Pinecrest, now in the process of re-landscaping its medians, has formed a partnership with the county where Miami-Dade provides funds for initial landscaping and the city agrees to continue maintenance in areas that extend outside its boundaries, Mr. Moss said.
The advisory board also identified the need for between $1 million and nearly $1.7 million in landscaping improvements along Northwest 27th Avenue from 151st Street to the county line.
While coordinating with the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, workers for the airport, CSX Railroad and a Florida Department of Transportation advisory board helped coordinate an already budgeted cleanup of State Road 836 between Northwest 42nd and 77th avenues.
A cleanup and painting of bridges and overpasses heading into Miami International at Le Juene and state roads 836 and 112 has an estimated price tag between $255,000 and $475,000.
With a large group of representatives from the county, the Florida Department of Transportation, six municipalities, Amtrak and Tri-Rail, the board hopes to coordinate plans that are "already on the drawing board," Mr. Moss said. The united front that the effort creates, he said, makes it easier to get county, state and federal dollars for beautification projects.
"When I’m coming into a downtown, what I see gives me an image of what I believe about a community," Mr. Moss said. "We have to put on our very best face."