ROAD TO TRANSIT: Citing infill development projects rising in areas where roadway expansions are limited or impossible, the Miami-Dade County Commission last week ordered County Manager George Burgess to quickly put county road-impact fees to work to fund mass-transit options in those areas. The commission, by its 12-0 vote, directed him to report to the commission and its Regional Transportation Committee on what steps are required and which he has initiated and to recommend changes to impact-fee priorities.
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GROWING GAINS: DBK Concepts Inc., which sells and buys handheld computers and laser scanners, is to receive up to $71,500 from the Miami-Dade County Targeted Jobs Incentive Fund to expand its 30,000-square-foot headquarters at 12905 SW 129th Ave. and add jobs at $30,000 average annual wages over a three-year period. The company plans to invest $2.25 million at the site and employ 130 persons there. The county commission approved the incentives 12-0 last week.
GROWING AWARENESS: Noting that Miami-Dade is the nation's leading county in production of snap beans and squash, second in sales of nursery crops and 31st in overall agricultural production, the county commission last week asked the county manager to develop a plan to promote the county's agricultural products and to increase agri-tourism. The plan is also to tell the 30 million annual travelers through Miami International Airport of the danger of bringing invasive pests and species into the county. The commission unanimously backed the resolution by Katy Sorenson, which gives the manager 90 days to work with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, the US Department of Agriculture and the Florida Department of Agriculture to prepare the plan.
NEW TEE TIME: Six days after the deadline for proposals to redevelop Melreese Golf Course was delayed, it was pushed back once again, from Wednesday (10/26) to Dec. 16. The City of Miami is seeking an investor to build a hotel, a clubhouse, a pro shop and other amenities at Melreese, 1802 NW 37th Ave. near Miami International Airport. The deadline has been set back three times after Hurricane Katrina left investors on the Gulf Coast asking for an extension.
WATERFRONT REVIEW: The public can comment to city officials and planning firm Sasaki Associates on the Coconut Grove Waterfront Master Plan 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Coconut Grove Convention Center, 2700 S. Bayshore Dr. A walking tour that includes the entire project from Peacock Park to Kennedy Park will begin and end at City Hall, 3500 Pan American Dr. Details: (305) 790-3735.
HURRICANE PARKING: The Miami City Commission and the Miami Parking Authority have teamed to provide Miami residents free parking in assigned garages if a hurricane warning is issued. The Miami Resident Vehicular Protection Program is effective until hurricane season ends Nov. 30. A total of 3,000 spaces are available. Residents interested in leaving a second vehicle in any of the five authority garages must register online. Details: www.miamiparking.com.
STATUE-ASK: Because "Julia Tuttle is considered the founder of Miami, and it is very likely that no other major American city can claim that it was founded by a woman," the Miami-Dade County Commission last week voted 12-0 to erect a statue of the "Miami pioneer and visionary" in the heart of downtown and directed County Manager George Burgess to examine possible locations and funding sources and report back in three months. During a freeze that damaged citrus in northern Florida in 1896, Ms. Tuttle, a major landowner, persuaded railway magnate Henry Flagler to extend his railroad to Miami, leading to incorporation as a city that year.
SLOWING INCORPORATIONS: County commissioners are to act Tuesday on an ordinance to suspend consideration of municipal incorporations and annexations until County Manager George Burgess produces a report on their impact. Natacha Seijas, who is sponsoring the proposal, told a commission committee the suspension would last for four months. The commission postponed action on the proposal last week.
IMPACT FEE CHANGES: As Miami development booms, city commissioners today (10/27) are to consider a new schedule of impact fees "for additional public facility capacity and capital equipment to accommodate this additional demand," according to the proposed ordinance that would create the new schedule. The fees come from developers to meet needs their projects generate. The city last set impact fees in 1988.
KEY CONTRACT: Miami is about to begin its master planning for Virginia Key. The city commission today (10/27) is being asked to approve a contract with top-ranked planning firm EDSA to do the job. Spillis Candela DMJM was ranked second, Wallace Roberts & Todd LLC third.
FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Miami city commissioners are to vote today (10/27) on making one-year agreements on financial advisory services for the city with First Southwest Co. and RBC Dain Rauscher Inc., ranked first and second, respectively, from among six applicants.
PLANNING CITY PARKS: Miami commissioners are being asked to give City Manager Joe Arriola authority today (10/27) to negotiate a $700,000 contract with Goody Clancy & Associates to develop a long-range strategic plan for the city's parks. An evaluation committee early in the year ranked the firm second after Zyscovich Inc. and ahead of Walter F. Chatham Architect among those responding to a request for qualifications. But after the three top-ranked firms submitted proposals for creating the long-range plan, Goody Clancy was moved to the top rank.
SCHOOL'S OUT: The man Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew brought to town last year to be his right-hand man has a new job. Irving Hamer, who was the district's deputy superintendent, is joining the Millennium Group to launch its Education Turnaround Service.
TOPS IN ARTS: Miami's New World School of the Arts has been named one of five national winners of a new award from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, also based here. The New World School will receive the Coca-Cola Distinguished Schools of the Arts award Jan. 14 at the foundation's annual gala.
RAIL'S ROAD: Miami-Dade Transit plans two public meetings on the planned 2.4-mile extension of Metrorail from the Earlington Heights Station to the Miami Intermodal Center near Miami International Airport. The first is at 7 p.m. today (10/27) at the Miami-Dade Transit Sheila Winitzer Central Administration Building Auditorium, 3300 NW 32nd Ave. The next will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Wyndham Miami Airport Hotel, 3900 NW 21st St. Details: (305) 375-4625.
PARK PLANNING: Kicking off a two-year effort to create a new master plan for county parks, Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation is hosting a Great Parks Summit on Friday at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden bringing together local leaders in parks, planners, designers, county and municipal leaders and others interested in the future of parks and recreation. Featured is an afternoon panel, Toward Sustainability: A Regional Approach. Details: David Livingstone, (305) 755-7824.
MEXICAN TIES: The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual reception Oct. 28 to honor Mexican ambassador Carlos de Icaza, the keynote speaker, scheduled to arrive that day from Washington. "We will be honoring members and friends who have made significant contributions to strengthening Florida-Mexico relations during the past year," said Elba Hentschel, chamber executive director who expects nearly 200 guests at 7 p.m. at the grand ballroom of the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 North Greenway Dr.
TRANSPLANTS: Two international medical conferences displaced from Louisiana by Hurricane Katrina are to take place in Miami this week. The New Cardiovascular Horizons event begins today (10/27) at Hotel InterContinental, where it runs through Saturday. Another summit, for Critical Limb Ischemia, a circulatory condition that can lead to amputations, was to begin Wednesday (10/26) and wrap up Saturday at InterContinental.
BACK ON TRACK: Ridership on South Florida Regional Transportation Authority trains linking Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties jumped 45.9% to 227,733 passengers in September from September 2004, the authority said. But the jump wasn't due to growing popularity of Tri-Rail. Trains didn't run for seven days in September 2004 because of hurricanes that buffeted the region.
BUDDYING UP: The Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association has embraced the Best Buddies program, providing jobs for youngsters with intellectual disabilities. Six Miami-Dade hotels are engaged in the effort, each employing one youngster. The nonprofit is spearheaded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, a Miami Beach resident. "I met with Anthony Shriver in February and promised him hotels would be employing six people by October," said Stuart Blumberg, association president. Mr. Blumberg said the goal is to fill six new positions next year. "We are very committed to this project," he said at the association's annual meeting last week at Loews Miami Beach.
ENTERPRISING EFFORT: The board of Florida's lead economic development organization, Enterprise Florida Inc., voted Friday to negotiate with John Adams, CEO of the Laredo (Texas) Development Foundation, to become Enterprise Florida's new president and CEO, replacing Darrell Kelley, who retired after a little more than three years in the post.