By Christopher J. Russo, Former City Manager
(March 1, 2014) – As the City Manager, I am continuously focusing on the City’s goals by embracing new concepts and approaches so the City of Sunny Isles Beach advances with the times. The two main areas that the Commission and staff are currently focused on are Beach Sand Renourishment and Capital Projects.
Beach Sand Renourishment Project
I am excited to inform the residents that the health of our Beach will be improved with the commencement of placing over 65,000 cubic yards of sand on our Beach. This project will be the first step of what we hope will be a continuing effort to restore sand and renourish our Beach.
Approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and beginning January 13, 2014, trucks are hauling sand in what is commonly called a “truck haul nourishment project” which consists of the placement of beach sand in the most vulnerable areas of our City. Heavy equipment is operating on the Beach during daylight hours, Monday through Friday. The beach sand placement work will progress at a rate of 100-200 feet of shoreline per day. Access and staging for this project will be at the Jade Signature Development site at 16901 Collins Avenue. This stage of the beach sand placement will take approximately 90 days.
The City of Sunny Isles Beach, although not the permitting agency for this project, is providing Public Safety Services to guide the operations on the Beach to ensure the safety of our residents and guests. This process may cause some inconvenience, but the continuation of a renourishment plan is one that has been sought after for many years since the last major renourishment in 2001.
An informational meeting was held by the City of Sunny Isles Beach, on January 6, 2014, with project managers, representatives of the City, and many of the hotel and condominium managers along the beach in the affected area. Please check the City website (www.sibfl.net) for further updates concerning this project over the next several months.
In the last few months, artificial turf and lighting were installed on the soccer field at Senator Gwen Margolis Park, on the playground area of Town Center Park and throughout Pelican Community Park.
In 2014, the City will be able to complete major Capital Projects such as Gateway Park and Intracoastal Park, commence construction of the Emergency/ Pedestrian Bridge between 172nd Street and 174th Street and City Hall Renovations, and hopefully start on the Pedestrian Overpass on Sunny Isles Boulevard, which will safely get our children to the new Gateway Park.
There is movement with all of these projects: 1) Gateway Park has received its foundation permit and work has commenced. 2) Intracoastal Park drainage installation has started, and by early February, the columns and fencing along the Intracoastal Waterway will be installed along with the foundation for three sculptures which will adorn this Park. 3) The Emergency/Pedestrian Bridge has just about cleared all environmental permitting and bidding and contracting for this project is expected to occur in 2014. 4) City Hall will have its generator upgraded to handle an emergency in the event of a natural disaster, and interior space planning is underway to reconfigure the third floor of City Hall where space is at a premium due to the expansion of the Building Department personnel to keep up with the surge in new development. Commission Chambers technology has been upgraded with new video equipment and monitors. 5) A Pedestrian Overpass, to safely bring children and adults from the North Bay Road area across Sunny Isles Boulevard to Gateway Park, is in the design criteria phase. We are pending legal access for an easement to land the Overpass on the north side of Sunny Isles Boulevard, which is private property. With these projects completed, our reputation as a world class city and “Florida’s Riviera” will be heightened to a new level.
I wish all our residents and guests a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.