The Miracle Mile Streetscape Project

Finally! It seems like we've been talking about the Miracle Mile streetscape project for years. And we have. I remember this first came up more than a decade ago and I was on the commission when the final plan was hammered out.

Improvements on our downtowns signature street and on Giralda Avenue which has become known as Restaurant Row are long overdue, but there are quite a few things that are troubling about this project in particular.

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  1. Why did this take so long to come to fruition? We've been talking about this for 10 years. When we first approved it, the cost was much lower. The delay has cost us millions.
  2. Now we are in a rush to do it at the same time as the city is getting bids on two big municipal parking garages behind the Mile to the south. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Wouldn't it make more sense to coordinate both projects?
  3. There has been very little transparency and public outreach on the projects impact to our community. In fact, most residents are not aware that the streetscape will eliminate close to 120 on-street parking spaces. That is 50 percent of the metered angled parking spaces there now.
  4. The project will be financed by a Sunshine State loan, which means it cannot be paid through ad valorem taxes, which means that user fees will likely go up to pay for all this debt.
  5. The debt is bigger than what the stakeholders the property owners on Miracle Mile had been told they would incur. The streetscape project was initially approved for $18 million but the city ended up borrowing $25 million without telling them.

This project is already in the works and there is little we can do to address or remedy these issues. A special meeting called hastily for this week to provide the community an update seems like a good gesture. But it's too little, too late. Or putting the cart before the horse.

Our city government needs to be more transparent and inclusive.

And we must learn from our mistakes and the lack of leadership and bad judgment used in this case so that it doesn't happen again.

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