GENERAL COMMITTEE MINUTES:
Minutes of meeting
Robert L. Parks, Chairperson, called the Miami River Commission meeting to order at 12:00 noon on Monday, September 10, 2001, at the Downtown Development Authority, First Union National Bank Building, Suite 1818, 200 South Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.
Miami River Commission Policy Committee members
Officio (non-voting) members:
attending interested in the River:
Managing Director’s Report
reported that Dr. Pamella Dana will be the new Designee for the
Governor and Mr. Jim Murley will no longer be the Governor’s
Designee. Jim noted that
he has not received any official letter, nor has David. Mr. Murley will continue to help the MRC, specifically with
the Urban Infill Plan for the Miami River Corridor.
David reported that Cleve Jones has a new designee, Captain Beau
Payne, who replaced Mr. William Parkes.
Captain Payne is the owner of P&L Towing, one of the
primary towing companies on the river.
Miller wanted to advise the MRC about the status of 5th
Street Bridge and issues he is working on with the Coast Guard.
He talked with the Coast Guard Seventh District Bridge Branch,
and they stated the bridge is now operating (the bridge has been out
of service since February 2001, approximately 8 months as a result of
being struck by a ship). They
have completed temporary repairs to the bridge.
Mr. Miller stated that the bridge has been a problem for many
years and is basically an obstruction to navigation.
The Army Corps of Engineers labeled the bridge an “illegal
“ bridge when constructed in the 1920’s because the bridge was not
built in accordance with the approved plans.
Specifically the bridge has only a 74 foot opening and it was
suppose to be 85 feet, no spill way was provided as required by the
plans, the bridge is skewed to the navigable channel, the fender
system does not protect the bridge, the leaves do not open fully and
the bridge has been struck by vessels causing considerable damage 12
times in the last ten years. The
bridge has been out of service almost 40% of the time, thereby
degrading the local vehicular transportation system.
The temporary repairs allow the bridge leaves to be opened to
almost 74 feet. The Coast
Guard and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) are also doing a
study on the bridge to see if it can be replaced or removed.
Miller mentioned that on Friday, September 14, 2001 he would be a
panelist on a commercial real estate expo, which is entitled
“What’s Ahead for Miami Urban Core?”
He will talk about the developments on the River and what the
MRC is doing.
Lummus Landing Presentation
Johnson, City of Miami, reported that the Lummus Landing project is
the area right across the street from Lummus Park, with prime river
frontage. Ms. Johnson
stated the Lummus Landing is in the Riverside District area, which is
an area that forms a triangle bounded by I-95, Fifth Street and the
River. It is an area that
the City has been interested in developing for a number of years. The planning department has completed studies and sees this
neighborhood as very important to the community. They believe this is an excellent area for growth and can
support some retail, primarily because of its proximity to downtown
and Government Center. It
should be the next area to undergo major growth.
The City identified a few years back that this particular
parcel on the River across from Lummus Park might a good place to
create a project that would bring energy to the area and would link
some of the other commercial activities in this area.
It was thought that the City could create an activity center
with low-density commercial activity of approximately 17,000 square
feet. The city hired a
consultant to assist with the planning and design.
Ms. Johnson introduced Enrique Nunez, a city landscape
architect, who provided the details of the project.
Ms. Johnson stated that, in essence, this is the City of Miami
project with funding from the State.
The city is creating the infrastructure for a potential future
commercial development. They
will be developing a Riverwalk and some boat slips.
There will be in water improvements where boats are docked.
They are doing landscape improvements, drainage, and site
improvements, creating some public plazas, gathering spaces at the
street end and improving all of the street connections.
One possibility they are reviewing is the creation of a fish
market in connection with one of the parcels.
Once the City has completed the infrastructure improvements,
they would then determine if it would be appropriate for commercial
development under the Unified Development project process.
At the present, what they hope to accomplish is certainly to
improve the site and to provide a gathering place for the community to
come to the water’s edge.
Ms. Johnson stated that the project as initially proposed has
been in the Greenways plan since its inception.
They are trying to make both the commercial development and the
public riverwalk areas work together.
Ms. Johnson noted that the property is very narrow, so the City
of Miami and its Waterfront Charter address the required width of the
riverwalk and setback requirements.
Discussion took place regarding this.
The sidewalk width along the roadway is determined by the
public right of way designation.
Parks asked Lavinia Freeman with Trust for Public Land (TPL) to
comment. She stated that
they have been familiar with the city plans since the beginning of
TPL’s Greenway planning process.
The property is very narrow.
Ms. Freeman prefers to see the property developed as an
extension of Lummus Park and not try to squeeze in some form of retail
activity on this very narrow property. That would be the preference of
TPL. The city has
increased the width of the riverwalk from the original design.
Discussion was held. Mr.
Parks asked what they would like the MRC to do, if anything.
Ms. Johnson stated that the city needs to complete their
in-house assessment with their consultants.
There is no City Commission approval required until such time
as they go out for bid and the bids are back in and they want the
Commission to award a contract for the construction of those
improvements. It may be
the end of the year or beginning of January before they reach that
McAliley asked if the Greenway standards have been adopted by the City
Johnson stated they had in principle. Mrs. McAliley was concerned about the width of the walkway
and that the City should not attempt to reduce those standards.
She would like to see the City in its planning of waterfront
areas lead the way to the higher standards and not push for waivers or
reduction of the standards. Ms.
Johnson stated that she was only giving information at this point and
that no action was required at this time.
Ms. Johnson supports the recommendations of the Greenways Plan
for the maximum standards, but she believes not all riverfront
properties are the same and a cookie cutter approach cannot be
utilized in all cases.
ensued about the proposal to have an 8-foot wide riverwalk structure
over the water.
Jude did not feel that this neighborhood should have the name of
Riverside, when Riverside historically is the neighborhood of the East
Mr. Parks thanked them for bringing this
information before the MRC.
Miami Marlins Riverside Baseball Ballpark
Carbonell (City of Miami), George Burgess (Miami-Dade County) and
Lucinda Treat (Marlins) were present to give an update.
The proposed new baseball stadium site is south of the site
initially selected by the City Commissioners on March 15, 2001.
The new site is on the south side of the river between Second
Avenue, Eighth Street, I-95 and the River.
This site requires minor infrastructure changes.
Ms. Jude stated that there will be historic properties (homes)
that will be destroyed in this project and that the real impact of
being part of downtown is lost. Discussion
took place. Mr. Parks
asked where they are in regard to changing from River site no. 1 to
River site no. 2 or to some other site.
The presenters explained that there are serious issues with
relocating utilities on the original site.
Everyone likes the idea of being on the River and felt this
site was a good alternative. At this time, the City Commission has put a deadline on a
memorandum of understanding; however, Mayor Penelas has asked for a
60-day extension. They
are working toward an extension at this point.
Burgess stated that there is more to be done from the County’s point
of view and they do believe that it would be wise for everyone to have
more time to work on these new details.
Specifically, as it relates to use of re-development district
funds, Tax Increment Financing, they see that as a tool not for just a
baseball stadium, but a tool that might have great value to economic
development along the entire River.
The County has been thinking this way for some time. In putting together the financing on the stadium project,
there are still more negotiations that have to occur. Mr. Burgess is not suggesting that any of the specifics on
any of the numbers are resolved.
They may be close on many areas, but they still have more to
talk about. The idea of
using a portion of a re-development district to help fund a baseball
project, they believe is a good alternative, provided only a portion
of the funds are used for the stadium.
The county staff has looked in a very conservative manner at
what kind of revenues might be generated by a re-development district
along the River. They
felt this could help with the Greenways, dredging project, and other
infrastructure projects that might be helpful in getting private
sector dollars into the River. For
the baseball project, they were assuming a very small percentage of
the revenue would come from the district.
Mr. Burgess stated that he had very rough numbers.
The present value of the revenues that would come off of a
re-development district over 30 years (money coming from only the
City’s incremental tax revenue and the County not the School Board)
at 95% has a present value of about $220 million.
This utilizes a conservative assumption on growth and a
relatively small district that is only 660 feet on each side of the
Parks stated that whether the stadium gets built or not, the Tax
Increment Financing is still going to be a very viable way to do River
Barreiro felt the citizens of the City of Miami are in favor of a
stadium. He felt
signatures should be collected from the public, so that it can be
placed on the ballot. A
finance package should be put together and then put it out to the
public. He feels the longer it is delayed, the greater chance the
tourist development tax dollars will be up lost for the stadium.
The Marlins have to put themselves in a position, so the issue
can be put forward on a voter referendum.
discussion, Mr. Parks stated that the MRC has not taken a position as
to whether there should be a new stadium and who pays for it.
The MRC supports a River location for the stadium and that is
the only position it has taken. The
MRC advocated the position that was approved by the City Commission
originally and until such time as a new vote is taken, that is the
MRC’s official position.
MRC has been asked by the County to help resolve the problem of
dredging within 25 feet of manmade structures.
The MRC is reviewing qualifications of three engineering
consultants and hope to hire a consultant to assist the County in this
endeavor. The County asked the MRC to use some of the funds that they
have for that purpose to speed up the process.
Mr. Miller stated that they have an FDEP dredging grant in the
amount of $300,000. David
has requested an amendment to that grant to handle this 25-foot set
back issue with the Corps and hire an engineering consultant.
He is awaiting final approval from FDEP.
Parks explained that because of the timing of this business with the
consultant and the 25-foot set back problem, it was taken up at the
Executive Committee Meeting. This was money appropriated for the MRC to do work on the
dredging. This is clearly
within the purview of the appropriation.
After discussion, Jim Murley made the motion to allow the
Executive Committee to approve a contract with the Engineering
consultant for the dredging project.
Phil Everingham seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Murley brought the MRC up to date.
There is to be a “brainstorming” meeting on September 12th.
It is not an official stakeholder meeting.
They are trying to get their material organized to present it
to the public. Mr. Murley said that Brett has done a great job on this
Martin reported that there would be a public hearing for the $250,000
grant for the historic preservation for the “Point Park”. If they receive these funds, they will have raised about $1.3
million so far.
Mr. Parks stated that he, Lavinia, David,
and Brett had a meeting with Commissioner Teele concerning the
Greenways Project and with Dick Judy who is Teele’s consultant for
developing a Community Development Corporation that may include areas
of the river. Mr. Parks
feels that they were all encouraged by the fact that the whole concept
of the Tax Increment Financing District and the Greenways and the
support they are going to get for it, is very strong.
There were two very positive meetings and they were able to
provide Commissioner Teele and his consultants with a lot of
information concerning the work that the Greenways Committee, TPL and
the Urban Infill group had done. Mr. Parks explained that it was very important that the MRC
be included in anything that went on with reference to setting up a
River Community Development Corporation, because it must be done in
connection with the MRC.
Development and Commerce
Kelly reported that they had two meetings.
They did adopt a goals program, which would be primarily
working with the Urban Infill group to make sure that the “Working
River” concept gets ample expression in the Urban Infill plan.
Martin reported that Brett completed a request for a grant for the
Point Park from the National Fish and Wildlife Service to provide
habitat and native plant species for the park.
Brett said it was a grant for $25,000.
asked the MRC to support and application to Florida Inland Navigation
District (FIND) for a river clean up boat.
Brett provided additional information about the FIND grant. Phil Everingham made the motion to apply for the FIND
grant. The motion was
seconded by Sandy O’Neil and passed unanimously.
The boat is actually a private entity that provides this
cleanup service. It is
envisioned that the boat would be hired on a periodic basis, such as
two days per week. The boat that is under review is a state of the art piece of
equipment that picks up trash, oils, and bacteria but also puts oxygen
in the water. Brett said
it is in a very preliminary stage at this time.
Watson reported that they did hold a meeting with the Miami River QAT.
They discussed how they could have better attendance at the
meetings and have a better more productive agenda.
Barreiro is having a report of the Miami River dredging project to come
before his Committee on September 17, 2001.
Additionally, he has put in a request for $100,000 dollars in the
County budget for a Miami River Urban Design Center.
The Mayor included two fulltime dredging personnel in his budget
proposal. They have $100,000 from last year and if he gets $100,000
more for this year he can begin real work on the Design Center.
Mr. Murley said that they were able to use $50,000 from the first
$100,000 to add into the preparation of the infill plan.
Simultaneously with that, the Trust for Public Land teamed up
with the Collins Center and received a substa
ntial grant from the Knight Foundation to do something like a Design
Center. The Knight Center
proposal is a little bit different in that it was focused more towards
Overtown and then reaching out to the River and other areas. The grant
made by the Knight Center was several million.
Discussion was held and it was felt that someone from the Collins
Center should be invited to attend the next meeting to explain what is
actually being done.
ntial grant from the Knight Foundation to do something like a Design Center. The Knight Center proposal is a little bit different in that it was focused more towards Overtown and then reaching out to the River and other areas. The grant made by the Knight Center was several million. Discussion was held and it was felt that someone from the Collins Center should be invited to attend the next meeting to explain what is actually being done.
There being no further business to come before the meeting, the meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m