The Coral Gables City Commission could soon finalize a proposal for a special assessment tax to help pay for long-awaited streetscape projects on Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue.
For years, city leaders have wanted to make the Mile a thriving, pedestrian-friendly main street through beautification. The idea is to create a popular destination in the same vein as Mary Brickell Village in Miami, Lincoln Road in Miami Beach and the Center Grove in Coconut Grove by resurfacing streets and sidewalks, adding landscaping, displaying public art and using decorative lighting. Some of the planned improvements include adding benches, planting trees and building a fountain.
In February, the commission and members of the Business Improvement District that covers the Mile heard a proposal on how to finance such a project, which is estimated to cost about $19 million.
The city would pay half of the debt on bonds issued to fund the work, and property owners in the BID would fund half through a special tax assessment. Of the BID’s half, 35 percent would be paid by properties directly on Mile and Giralda and 15 percent by adjacent properties.
The city would also pay the interest for the first two years so that property owners would not be assessed until after construction ends and business picks up again.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the commission will consider resolutions to advertise this financing plan in advance of a public hearing at the next commission meeting.
“Staff would send out the notices that are required by mail to anyone who would be affected by that assessment to notify them of a public hearing on July 22,” said Cindy Birdsill, the city’s economic sustainability director.
City staff would also prepare preliminary assessment roll before that July meeting, where the commission would have a final vote on the financing before the project would enter the design phase. Design would likely take six months, and construction would probably last 12 to 18 months.