By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – On November 6th voters approved all three ballot items of the proposed $439 million General Obligation (G.O.) Bond, which is aimed at addressing critical infrastructure needs. Officials say approximately 25 percent – or $117 million – of the projects are targeting sea level rise resiliency efforts.
The total project will span across projects for the city’s parks, recreation facilities and cultural facilities ($169 million); neighborhood and infrastructure ($198 million); and police, fire and public safety ($72 million).
Mayor Dan Gelber explained the week of the election, “The passing of these bonds will be transformative in enhancing our quality of life and property values to guarantee that our City becomes an even more spectacular place to live.”
City Manager Jimmy L. Morales added some detail, “Twenty-five percent of this G.O. Bond directly addresses the effects of climate change, while many of the other projects address other resiliency challenges. We are eager to get started on these projects immediately.”
The City of Miami Beach helped break down the projects focused on resiliency efforts. They are; Resilient Seawalls and Living Shorelines ($10 million), Above Ground Improvements (total $85 million) [covers next ten years of planned stormwater/water & sewer projects] and Neighborhood Above Ground Improvements ($43 million).
Also; Flamingo Park Neighborhood Improvements ($20 million), La Gorce Neighborhood Improvements ($14 million), North Shore Neighborhood Improvements ($8 million).
The Green/blue infrastructure in various parks projects will spend $17 million included in the following projects in addition to the normal project budget: Par 3/Community Park, Flamingo Park & Youth Center, Maurice Gibb Park, 72nd Street Park, Library, & Aquatic Center.
Melissa Berthier, Public Relations Manager, also shared there is also the “Street Tree Master Plan ($5 million), with up to 5,000 tree plantings that would consider the overall benefit to the city’s green infrastructure as well as strategic planting of trees to improve our stormwater management capacities.”
Adding that properly planted large species tree can contribute an added 4,000 gallons of stormwater management once matured.
The city also says that many projects will incorporate resiliency elements due to new design standards (ex. Fire Stations #1 and #3) or are indirectly resilient (ex. roof replacements may consider white or green roof designs).
John Englander, an oceanographer, author, and President of the International Sea Level Institute felt it is a start but there will be a lot more to do.
“Allocating a hundred million to resilient projects in Miami Beach is a positive sign that they recognize the problem. It’s a start, but only that. Adapting to several feet of sea level rise is a challenge that will require much more,” Englander explained.