After years of planning and public input, Coral Gables elected officials and other city leaders posed with shovels and hard hats and broke ground on the Miracle Mile/Giralda Avenue streetscape project Thursday morning.
The $21 million project is expected to take about 18 months to complete and will dramatically reshape the city’s historic street with a new design and a focus on increasing foot traffic and injecting new life into downtown Coral Gables.
“No matter how long you’ve lived or worked in our city, downtown Coral Gables has always been the heart of the City Beautiful,” Mayor Jim Cason said. “It will be the hub of activities and the core of our future economic growth.”
The contract for the project was officially approved in January, and the construction work will take place in phases on both the Mile and Giralda Avenue.
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The end result will be wider, walkable sidewalks, new trees, new streetlights and parallel parking on the Mile that will replace the current angled parking.
“Streetscape will no doubt bring vitality and prosperity to the area,” said Judy Weissel, a property owner and founding member of the Business Improvement District.
As the streetscape work begins, the city is also considering a new downtown overlay district that will work in concert with the streetscape project and allow developers to utilize more space and encourage more residential uses to attract young professionals.