The readers’ forum

Downtown Miami needs a grand entrance

 

Miami has one last chance to create a grand entrance to the city.

Early visionaries of Miami knew that Biscayne Boulevard was the entrance to the city and set in place efforts to beautify that entrance with palm trees and the hope for grand buildings from Northeast 54th Street south to Flagler Street.

The trees were planted and a few architecturally great buildings were built, the Bacardi and Florida Gas, to name a few. Then with the rezoning of Brickell Avenue, the city’s business community changed its focus and moved south.

However, Biscayne Boulevard is still, geographically, the entrance to the city of Miami.

What exists north of 14th Street and Biscayne Boulevard is set and cannot be changed. However, there is still a last opportunity for a grand entrance to downtown Miami.

Recently, I visited the office of Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez, a known visionary.

Sitting on a table in Commissoner Suarez’s office were the architectural concept drawings for a grand concourse starting at the Arsht Center south to Northeast Fifth Street. They were, simply put, breathtaking.

It would require lowering Biscayne Boulevard so traffic would be underground. The grand concourse would be at street level, which would be a magnificent open pedestrian area with fountains and seating.

This project would open the view of the city to ships coming into Miami and we would have a city that would breathe. This concept would also fulfill the dream of the original planners for Bicentennial Park, now Museum Park.

All great cities have an open parks and concourses in its downtown area. We have one last chance to get it right.

Residents should as their city of Miami and county commissioners to support Suarez’s Grand Concourse project.

Richard Mason, Miami Gardens

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