HOW'D WE DO? Miami-Dade commissioners are to vote Tuesday to require County Manager George Burgess to report within 90 days on the effectiveness of the People's Transportation Plan, nearly 5 years old. Voters in November 2002 approved a half-cent sales tax to help pay for transportation improvements. Commissioner Rebeca Sosa is asking that commissioners ask Mr. Burgess to detail how each project listed in the plan has progressed, whether it was over budget and whether it actually helped cut travel time.
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FAMILY FARE: County Commissioner Dennis Moss is asking commissioners to vote Tuesday to establish a regular program on the county's television station to profile small and minority-owned businesses that have gotten county grants. The "Mom and Pop Success Stories" program would "highlight success stories from each of the commission districts."
COUNTY HOME PLAN: Developers would be asked to submit proposals to Miami-Dade County to construct single-family homes on county land for moderate- and low-income residents under an affordable-homeownership program to be proposed by County Commissioner Barbara Jordan at Tuesday's commission meeting. County Manager George Burgess would be asked to list land available for the homes. Each home would be sold under a restrictive covenant that would require the buyer to live there for at least 20 years or require an interim purchaser to meet affordability criteria.
RIVER FUNDS VETOED: The Miami River Commission last week appeared on Gov. Charlie Crist's record-breaking veto list. He vetoed a $250,000 appropriation for commission programs and operational costs, based on recommendations from non-profit Florida Tax Watch and the Department of Environmental Protection. Because the commission is not a municipality or special taxing district, it is not eligible for funding from the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund that was to provide the money, according to an e-mail to river officials from Kurt Wenner of Florida Tax Watch. Gov. Crist did not veto two appropriations totaling $5.8 million for the $74 million river dredging project, to resume this summer.
ECONOMICS OF IMMIGRATION: The economic impact of immigration on communities here is to be discussed at next week's Miami-Dade County Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board forum on immigration laws on the University of Miami campus. The event is highlighted by two panel discussions between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. June 7 at the university's BankUnited Center, 1245 Dauer Ave. in Coral Gables. The advisory board makes recommendations to county commissioners about programs affecting the Hispanic community. Details: (305) 375-4143.
PARKS PASSAGE: City commissioners took the "first step in improving open spaces in each and every Miami neighborhood" last week, Mayor Manny Diaz said, in unanimously approving the proposed Parks and Public Spaces Master Plan. Like the Planning Advisory Board, commissioners had contentions with the proposal — which calls for a connected system of parks and public spaces; a no net loss policy for city parklands; and establishing a Miami Parks Foundation to tap private donors for funding, among other provisions — as just a "guiding tool," and removed that phrase from the legislation before passing it. Guiding tools in the past became "loose-leaf binders that have never been implemented," Commissioner Marc Sarnoff said, and this plan must be carried through.
BIGGER AND BETTER: Despite concerns that a new, larger facility for the homeless would draw vagrants from elsewhere in Miami-Dade County to the City of Miami, city commissioners allowed the Camillus House last week to go ahead with plans nearly quadrupling the proposed size of its new facility. The number of beds, 380, remains unchanged. The new plan calls for buildings around an inner courtyard, better containing the people utilizing the facilities, said Paul Ahr, Camillus House president. And besides, Commissioner Tomás Regalado said, "if you build it, they will come" does not generally apply to the homeless, and the facility will most likely serve locals.
DYNAMIC DOCTOR: Pedro Jose "Joe" Greer is to become assistant dean of academic affairs at Florida International University's College of Medicine July 1. Dr. Greer founded Camillus Health Concern, which provides medical care to the homeless, and the St. John Bosco Clinic, which helps local undocumented immigrants. He currently runs a private practice with father Pedro Greer Sr. The younger Dr. Greer has been recognized with the Presidential Service Award, three Papal Medals and a MacArthur grant.
DIAZ-BALART TO SPEAK: The West Kendall Business Association is to host US Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart today (5/31) at Signature Gardens, 12725 SW 122nd Ave. The noon lunch is $35 at the door. Formerly the Tamiami Airport Business Association, the association aims to foster business growth in West Kendall. Details: www.west—kendallbusiness.com.
AIRPORT WEST LEASES: The Airport West industrial market got a boost this month from four industrial space leases facilitated by Erick Padilla of commercial real estate company CB Richard Ellis totaling 49,000 square feet. Despite the recent activity, he said, industrial space is difficult to find in Airport West. "Rents continue to increase and demand continues to outpace supply," he said. "The market is very tight." Details: www.cbre.com.
BANK LEASES SPACE: Coral Gables-based Commercebank agreed this month to lease office space at Westside Plaza II in Miami. The Venezuelan-owned bank is to occupy 11,723 square feet in the Class A office building at 8300 NW 33rd St. Terms were not disclosed. Commercial real estate company CB Richard Ellis represented Commercebank and broker PIX represented landlord BIVAC North America Inc. Details: www.cbre.com.
LANDMARK SALES MILESTONE: The development team behind the Landmark at Doral mixed-use urban village reached $100 million in sales for the complex in less than six months, project officials say. Boca Raton-based E.B. Developers Inc. is building the $400 million town center on 120 acres AT Northwest 58th Street and 107th Avenue. The complex is to include 1,109 condominiums and town homes, 100,000 square feet of retail space and 360,000 square feet of Class A office space. Opening is scheduled for mid-2009. Details: www.landmarkatdoral.com.
HOSPITAL HEADWAY: Baptist Health South Florida has named Javier Hernandez-Lichtl CEO of South Miami Hospital. Mr. Hernandez-Lichtl had been chief administrative officer and executive vice president of Baptist Health South Florida since 2003. He succeeds Wayne Brackin, who was appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer of the corporation. Mr. Hernandez-Lichtl will oversee all clinical and administrative operations of the 445-bed South Miami Hospital.
QUICK AND PAINLESS: Miami International Airport recently last week unveiled an eight-lane security checkpoint at Concourse E expected to alleviate security lines during the busy summer travel season and help expedite completion of the North Terminal, airport officials say. "The new Concourse E checkpoint is a milestone in getting the North Terminal completed in 2010 and controlling our costs," Miami-Dade Aviation Director José Abreu said. The new checkpoint can accommodate flights relocated to Concourse E from Concourse A, which will close when the South Terminal opens later this year.
EWM ON MOVE: Mary Brickell Village is the new home for the Brickell office of real estate firm Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell, effective Wednesday (5/30). The 2,600-square-foot office at 901 S. Miami Ave. is to accommodate 45 associates and staff members and offer residential and commercial real estate services. The firm is moving from 671 Brickell Bay Dr.
CORRECTION: The Last Word on May 24 should have reported that construction of the Paramount Bay complex has reached the fourth floor.