Miami Beach

North Bay Village

North Bay Village residents want sidewalks fixed, cleaned

North Bay Village residents say their sidewalks need repairs and cleaning.

“There are issues in the sidewalks that make you walk in the streets in some areas,” resident Kevin Vericker told the Village Council last week. “They are broken.”

Concerns over walkability arose Thursday during the first budget workshop for budget year 2015, which will start Oct. 1.

“Sidewalk and cleaning is something that stands out,” said village resident Jorge Brito. “[The] sidewalk on the north side is so dangerous because it’s on the same level as the street and there is no curb. If we are going to have a priority list, I think that should be one of our priorities.”

In a recent survey of village residents by Barry University’s Institute for Community and Economic Development, 32 percent of participants said the No. 1 problem facing the city is cleanliness.

Anna Bakst, 76, and a 40-year village resident, uses a walker and said she has a hard time getting around on the village’s sidewalks.

“When I went to shop, I took my car next door because I couldn’t walk on that sidewalk,” Bakst said.

Commissioner Wendy Duvall said she walked with a stroller and her dog through the village’s sidewalks and echoed the sentiments of the residents.

Village Manager Frank Rollason, said that while many sidewalks need to be inspected and may be out of regulation, most of the sidewalks around Kennedy Causeway are the responsibility of Miami-Dade County. The streets are under the Florida Department of Transportation.

“I barely have enough to pay for our stuff. I’m not going to start paying for things that are under FDOT,” Rollason said after the meeting.

Other concerns voiced at the workshop were the pace of renovations to the Schonberger Tot Lot, speed limits on the causeway and a need for tighter code enforcement.

The citizen survey — which cost the village $5,000 — also concluded that better storm drainage is a key concern of residents.

On the budget process, the analysis done by Barry University states that “the village’s budget lacks funds for needed improvements and development for the community.”

“Lacking transparent government spending and fair budget allocation both are serious issues,” the report states, adding that the village needs a system that will make clear where money is being allocated and what results have been produced.

The next budget workshop is scheduled for July.

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