Fifteen ideas win cash prizes in contest to boost Miami’s public spaces

Fifteen ideas — ranging from bringing artistic wooden benches to Little Havana to installing temporary swing sets under a Metromover station in downtown Miami — will share a $120,000 prize to improve local neighborhood gathering places.

The Miami Foundation announced the winners of its Our Miami Public Space Challenge on Wednesday night at a party at The Stage Miami venue in the Design District.

As part of the challenge, organizations and residents, including elected officials, were invited from July 31 to Sept. 19 to submit relatively quick and easy ideas to make Miamians feel more connected to each other and to their city. More than 250 proposals came in, according to the foundation.

A panel of experts selected the winners, which included a plan to transform an empty Downtown Dadeland lot into a park and installing a shade cover at Liberty City’s Gwen Cherry Park.

“The explosion of energy Miamians created around the challenge was tremendous,” Javier Soto, the foundation’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “Each visionary idea added to the spark — a spark we hope will fuel a permanent community-wide focus on improving public spaces.”

Eleven projects will be funded by $100,000 from The Miami Foundation, and another four by the Health Foundation of South Florida, which kicked in an additional $20,000 for ideas that promoted health and exercise.

Among those four projects are converting a school bus into a “fitness caravan” to host free workout classes in communities lacking exercise equipment, and bringing organic gardens and fruit trees to Hialeah’s Amelia Earhart Park.

Four more ideas did not receive funding but were recognized for being big and bold, including creating a snorkel trail and artificial reef offshore Miami Beach.

To review the ideas, visit

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