Ricky Report Welcome Back To School

Ricky Arriola
As a new school year begins, I want to wish our children, parents, and teachers all the best!!! Together we’ll make this year even better than the last. One way we plan on making it better is by expanding the STEAM Plus initiative by increasing its funding for FY 19/20. As you know, Miami Beach is a city that prides itself in exposing its children to arts and culture, so last semester we launched the STEAM Plus program — in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) and the Bass Museum. The program is similar to the Turnaround Arts program I helped develop during my tenure on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. We are offering STEAM Plus in addition to all the other services the City provides as part of its unique education compact with M-DCPS. To learn more about the compact click below. We also recognize that we live in different times, so rest assured we continue to fund the assignment of a sworn police officer at EVERY public school. Our children’s safety is top priority.
The owners of the Ocean Terrace development finally obtained the necessary city approvals that will allow them to produce a financially viable mixed-use product for North Beach. Negotiations lasted over half a year and led to the $15 million developer contribution of a public park designed by the famed landscape architect, Raymond Jungles. Many residents are familiar with Jungles by way of his design of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden and the 1100 block of Lincoln Road. The future Ocean Terrace will transform a dreary parking lot into a dreamy urban paseo. Click on the video above to see what the future holds!
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Climate change is affecting Miami Beach with more than just rising seas. Scientists believe the seaweed explosion we’ve observed is tied to a warming planet. Whatever the cause of the seaweed invasion may be, we need to fight back this new normal. Seaweed is piling up on our beaches at record levels. Our residents and tourists are rightfully concerned. Luckily, we have partners at Miami-Dade County that are committed to helping us correct the situation. We’ve been working with the County to obtain an extended permit from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission that will allow heavy equipment to access our beaches to then chop up and dispose of rotting seaweed. In the future, we hope to continue collaborating with our partners to ensure the County has a season-long permit from the state to address our seaweed problem.
Our Commission continues to implement the North Beach Master Plan one recommendation at a time. The latest step we took was transmitting a finding of necessity to Miami-Dade County. That is the first step required under Florida law to establish a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). A CRA is a special district in which any future increase in property values are set aside to support economic development projects within that district. Miami Beach is has a successful track record with CRAs. It’s had two CRAs that led to the reconceptualization of Lincoln Road (more on that later), complete renovation of the Convention Center, and renaissance of South of Fifth. If the County approves a CRA for North Beach, then rest assured it will be a success!
James Corner Field Operations designed the infamous Highline in New York City and the Underline in Miami. His visionary excellence is why Miami Beach selected him to reimagine Morris Lapidus’ Lincoln Road. The almost $70 million transformational project finally received full funding from the City last month — made possible in part with CRA funds. The Commission also negotiated for the Lincoln Road BID (LRBID) to commit to adding $16 million toward the street’s programming budget. This fall the LRBID hopes to launch a seasonal art sculpture series that will keep residents wondering what’s new #OnLincoln for years to come.
Daniel Buren, a famous conceptual artist from France, has been selected to design the 5th Street pedestrian bridge that will link our Baywalk. This pedestrian bridge is another example of how this Commission strives to deliver stunning beauty and creativity to an otherwise “pedestrian” piece of public infrastructure. This connection will link the South of Fith and West Avenue neighborhoods. Remember that this defining landmark is only possible because you supported the GO Bond and the agreement with the Park on Fifth development that will soon yield a new 3-acre public park.
The Raleigh will have a second life thanks to a partnership between Michael Shvo and the City of Miami Beach, unlike some unfortunate historic properties that are facing demolition by neglect from absentee owners. Michael Shvo has called the Raleigh hotel the crown jewel of our Art Deco architectural portfolio. The Commission granted him the opportunity to build a 200-foot condo addition behind the Richmond and South Seas (adjacent to the Raleigh) in return for him breathing new life into the Raleigh and keeping it open for the public to enjoy. This is an important case study in smart development, which emphasizes building for the future while preserving the past.

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