By Christopher J. Russo, Former City Manager
(Wednesday, August 2, 2017) – It’s summer time and the living is getting easier. The summer started with a great 20th Anniversary Party which included a visit from our newest Sister City, Punta del Este, Uruguay. The festivities featured a new “nightclub” type party at Heritage Park, our traditional barbecue in Town Center Park – with rides, art, music and games for the kids – followed by the highlight of the celebration. The concert at the newly renovated Samson Oceanfront Park was filled with music and a fantastic fireworks show. This park was the very first park created by our City soon after incorporation. After 16 years of service, it was time to update, expand, and refresh this gem.
We also fully opened Gateway Park and garage on Sunny Isles Boulevard, including the Pedestrian Bridge, which spans over the westbound lanes of Sunny Isles Boulevard, providing a safe walk to the Park. On the south side, patrons cross at an exclusive street level signalized crosswalk. The 370-car parking garage serves not only the Park, but is also close to the beach. The garage is available for general public parking. Improvements are still being made to this large multi-faceted venue. We are now focusing on the level of programing we intend to provide and reevaluating the commercial use of the 18,000 square feet of indoor space. Regardless of what direction we take, I can assure you it will be high quality and focused on meeting the needs of our residents first.
The rehabilitation of Collins Avenue by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is underway. This work followed the placement of underground conduits for the undergrounding of the overhead utility wires on Collins Avenue. As soon as FDOT completes its work in 2018, the City will install decorative streetlights and complete the Sidewalk Brick-Paver Streetscape Plan. Once this phase is completed, the Florida Power & Light (FPL) contractor will commence work, along with other telecommunication providers, placing the wiring underground. This is the most complicated capital project undertaken by our City. The benefits are numerous but mainly resulting in a more hardened system less susceptible to hurricane damage and power outages, while being more aesthetically pleasing. We will then be able to provide lighted holiday decorations on Collins Avenue.
As you read this article, a long awaited project is about to begin; beach sand renourishment. This project, controlled by the US Army Corps of Engineers, is expected to start within the next couple of months and last for about six months. Sand will be trucked into the City from sand mines in the middle of the State. The majority of the sand will be placed from the Newport Fishing Pier north to the border of Golden Beach. The access points for hauling the sand will be at the Ellen Wynn Beach Access, which will be closed for the duration of the project. A secondary access point will be the closed Monaco Motel site at the 175th block of Collins Avenue. The South access will be Haulover Park for sand placed south of the Newport Fishing Pier.
Stay tuned to City email blasts, social media, and other announcements for the details of the project, most importantly the details of the progress along the Beach itself, and the safety precautions being taken while people enjoy the beach.
Enjoy the rest of the summer, but be aware of your surroundings to stay out of harms way.