County, Miami to beautify stretch of I-95
By Deserae del Campo
The City of Miami and Miami-Dade County are collaborating on a landscape improvement project to beautify a strip of Interstate 95.
"The area we are looking at is just south of I-395 leading into downtown Miami," said Alyce Robertson, community image manager for the Miami-Dade County Image Advisory Board, consisting of representatives of several cities, the county commission and the Florida Department of Transportation. "Tourists driving into the city will see the downtown skyline and the trees and landscape in the foreground."
The designated area is from Northwest 11th Terrace toward I-395 and the southbound exit of I-95 at Northwest Eighth Street.
The project is being designed by the Landscape Project Committee.
The Department of Transportation is funding the enhancement project for $52,000.
Once the project is complete, the county will pay Miami $20,000 a year for four years to maintain trees on the interstate. After five years, the city will pay for maintenance.
Roots for the City Inc., a non-profit organization in Overtown, is involved in the project's design and implementation. Marvin Dunn, a community psychology field expert at Florida International University, also is working on the project.
Ms. Robertson said she wanted to Mr. Dunn on the team because she was impressed with his gardens in Overtown.
Mr. Dunn built his gardens, at Northwest Third Avenue and 14th Street, eight years ago and uses them for his course curriculum.
"My students choose between 36 community hours working in the gardens or completing a research paper," said Mr. Dunn. "I think I've only had eight students turn in the paper in all eight years."
Mr. Dunn said trees for the I-95 project would probably be donated. He said he has received donations from nurseries and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
"We want to duplicate the greenery on I-95 while also employing people from Overtown to maintain the landscape," Mr. Dunn said.
The Miami-Dade Infrastructure and Land Use Committee is to hear a resolution Friday authorizing the county and Miami to participate in the landscape project.
A similar resolution was passed Sept. 8 during a Miami City Commission meeting.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis C. Moss created the Miami-Dade Image Advisory Board in 2002. "Our goal is to maintain our transportation gateways," he said. "We live in a very beautiful community, and it needs a little makeover."
The advisory board has been involved in landscaping projects on Southwest 137th Avenue and Speedway Boulevard in South Dade.
"We're really looking for a consultant to help us create a landscape master plan for the region," Mr. Moss said, "not only to envision the plan but to implement it as well."