By Christopher J. Russo, Former City Manager
(Friday, December 28, 2018) – January is typically the time to make resolutions, look toward the future, and set new goals. I want to first reflect on the great progress we made last year, and then discuss our plans for the upcoming year.
Throughout the last couple of years, we have made remarkable progress on the ongoing Utility Undergrounding project. Approximately 60 miles of conduit was laid under Collins Avenue; the Roadway Rehabilitation and Repaving project was completed, signalized intersections were upgraded and crosswalks were improved. We are now in the process of removing, replacing and installing decorative street- lights along Collins Avenue. This phase of the project is anticipated to be completed in early 2020.
We have been implementing our stormwater drainage improvement program step by step. Last year, we upgraded the central island area, 174 Street to 183 Street, by cleaning out all deep stormwater collection wells and catch basins, inspecting all drainage pipes and outflows from our City, and repairing or replacing any pipes deemed necessary. This project will continue into 2019. The planning has started for the rehabilitation of the Golden Shores Stormwater Pump Station. We are also embarking on a stormwater retention facility expansion study. More sand is due to be placed on our beach starting in 2019 while we work on a long-term plan to mitigate beach erosion.
In the public safety arena, our Sunny Isles Beach Police Department has made great efforts to increase the safety on and off the roads. Through a continued proactive and visible presence, our officers have been on the streets, in the school, and at our events.
We expanded our media presence offering an emergency notification system, SIBAlert, and a new YouTube channel to view our video content. Our Cultural & Community Services department also introduced an entertainment series last year, Gateway LIVE!, and this unique quarterly series will continue in 2019. Mark your calendars because the Chinese Acrobats of Hebei will take the stage on Saturday, February 2.
What’s still to come? We have some exciting projects in the works, and I know our City staff is up to the task. I am grateful for all of our dedicated employees who go above and beyond to ensure Sunny Isles Beach is a World Class City. With the City nearly fully staffed with excellent talent, we are working diligently on several capital projects to ensure timely completion.
One of the most important concerns our City faces is transportation and pedestrian safety. As we work to further implement the Transportation Master Plan, we will continue widening sidewalks along several interior City roads. We are presently in the bidding stage to build a new pedestrian bridge over Collins Avenue at the Government Center and are working on the planning for two additional pedestrian bridges to be built over Collins Avenue at 174 Street and at Sunny Isles Boulevard. I will continue to provide updates as these projects develop.
The interior of Gateway Park will soon become the hub for all senior and teen programming and other activities. Soon we will be out to bid for the interior build-out and be underway with construction. This additional space will allow us to provide a higher quality of programming for all age levels across Sunny Isles Beach.
I am excited for what the future holds for the City and look forward to seeing everything our accomplished staff is able to achieve. Stay tuned throughout the year to receive the latest news, updates, and happenings in Sunny Isles Beach.