City Approves Miami River Greenway Plan

MIAMI, 5/21/01: A two-year effort creating a comprehensive plan for development of the Miami River Greenway took a big step forward this week, gaining approval from the Miami City Commission. The five city commissioners unanimously endorsed the Greenway plan, giving its concepts and recommendations more weight as a tool for guiding redevelopment in the urban core. The vote validated the work of Greenway planners and the Trust for Public Land, whose leaders headed the broad-based community planning initiative.

Two years ago TPL was invited by the Miami River Commission to take on the assignment of studying the Miami River corridor and making recommendations for neighborhood revitalization. The resulting Action Plan offers what TPL calls a “greenprint” for healthy urban redevelopment – a strategy to realize the potential of the Miami River as a natural resource and public amenity, while spurring neighborhood improvements that will transform depressed areas into more attractive places to live and work.

The plan endorsed this week by city commissioners is a detailed 94-page document providing a conceptual framework for development of the 5.5-mile river corridor, based on a clear vision and set of themes characterizing the history and potential of riverside neighborhoods. The plan offers specific action steps to implement improvements ranging from commercial and residential development to conservation of parks and open areas, and introduction of recreational activities and programs. The plan also identifies potential funding sources for the Greenway project, a long-term effort likely to require a decade or more.

“The Miami River Greenway project is a true community collaboration,” said Brenda Marshall, Senior Project Manager of TPL’s Miami field office. “One reason we are so confident about the opportunities here is the tremendous amount of involvement and support we’ve had from Miami River stakeholders – river-based businesses and developers, neighborhood residents, government agencies, educational and cultural organizations, and others. We’ve had the benefit of everyone’s ideas as we formulated the plan.

“The Greenway project reflects the forward thinking of the Miami River Commission,” Ms. Marshall said. “Here’s an agency with its hands full working on the dredging of the river and a lot of other major commercial and regulatory issues; yet they have the vision to consider long-term quality of life and environmental concerns at the same time.”

The Trust for Public Land, based in San Francisco, is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people by protecting natural and historic resources, guiding growth and assuring a high quality of life for future generations. Since its 1972 founding, TPL has helped protect more than 1.2 million acres in 45 states, including parks, gardens, greenways, playgrounds, recreation areas, historic landmarks and wilderness lands.

TPL has extensive experience in greenway projects in urban areas including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Baltimore and Chattanooga. The organization’s Miami office opened in 1991 and has led successful public finance initiatives for parks in Miami-Dade ($200 million) and Broward ($400 million), in addition to completing dozens of land acquisition projects throughout South Florida.