Neighborhood Transformation
Neighborhood Transformation
CitiStates Report:
Miami River Will Get an Expensive Facelift

By Neal Peirce
Web-posted: 3:43 p.m. Dec. 2, 2000

For a landmark rebirth in the making, look to the Miami River. Yes, the industrialized, historically neglected stretch of water that passes Miami International Airport, then past Little Havana, Overtown, through downtown and the now famous Miami Circle archaeological site on its way to Biscayne Bay.

A combination of federal, state and local funds soon will put up $60 million to $80 million for dredging to remove contaminated sediments.

The Trust for Public Land, the national conservation organization, is focusing on the river, envisioning an inviting public greenway through the city.

To get there, TPL sought feedback from industries and governments and shipping, neighborhood, land-holding and environmental groups. Businesses liked the greenway idea because it promises a less crime-ridden, more orderly neighborhood. Nearby residents, many lower-income and without cars, saw new recreation opportunities and a new walking/biking path to jobs downtown.

Sports enthusiasts endorsed the jogging and canoeing opportunities.

Center-city businesses anticipate an eye-pleasing amenity beside their properties. Brenda Marshall of the TPL predicts the greenway will prove a draw for housing, some of it market-rate, some subsidized.

Yet it's the "natural" elements, including revegetated mangroves, small wetlands and a science learning spot for inner city school kids, that generate the most enthusiasm.

The greenway could be a unifier: "We explain the greenway," says Marshall, "as a connector of neighborhoods and peoples and cultures. In every community we say we want it to celebrate Miami's cultural diversity. No one has yet said, 'We don't want those people passing through our neighborhood on the greenway.' Our message of a shared city seems to have been well received."