Negotiations are underway between the city of Miami and Florida East Coast Industries for the purchase of a sliver of an old railway that would be converted into a linear park -- potentially part of a larger, more ambitious city park expansion in West Flagler.
According to a memo by Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso, the city’s department of real estate has started conversations with FECI to purchase a portion of the company’s dormant railway between Flagler Street and Southwest Eighth Street. That segment represents the city’s portion of the Ludlam Trail, planned to run from Southwest 80th Street to Northwest Seventh.
The county is seeking appraisals for the land eyed by the city. The city commission authorized the expense of up to $1 million.
That talks have begun is another sign that attempts to create the Ludlam Trail -- stalled at one point due to accompanying development -- are progressing. In November, county commissioners moved along an application for the plan.
But, just as interesting, Alfonso’s memo also shows the city is eying two larger properties in the area, next to the Ludlam Trail and Robert King High Park, which lies on the western border of the planned trail. The city is seeking an appraisal on an 11-acre Miami-Dade School Board mail distribution center on the south side of Flagler Street, and has contemplated the purchase of a parcel to the west of the CSX tracks listed at $4 million.
Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez, who represents the area and supports the Ludlam Trail, said the city has contemplated a major green space expansion, and that part of the idea is to increase the number of access points to the trail. But he stressed that idea of purchasing land outside of the trail is preliminary, and hasn’t been discussed yet with the school board.
“We need to have a discussion with the school board to see if this has any sort of legs,” he said. “They do currently use the facility. It’s not completely abandoned. But the hope would be that maybe they can transfer those activities somewhere else and maybe it would be a legacy project for the superintendent and the community.”