City leaders, merchants and residents gathered Friday for a champagne toast on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables as the first phase of the streetscape construction project was officially unveiled.
Two blocks of the road, from Salzedo to Galiano Street, are complete and feature wider sidewalks with new granite tiles, along with new lighting and trees. Dozens gathered for a celebration of the project’s progress, after some early struggles and delays. The event also featured a performance from the Actors’ Playhouse.
“It’s amazing to see the progress. For 20 years different people in the city have been trying to make this happen,” Commissioner Frank Quesada said.
Merchants on that stretch of the road, like Eddie Snow of Snow’s Jewelers, said that they were happy to see the results of the work after suffering financial losses.
“We’re really happy with it, it looks great. We hope it brings some people back to the Mile,” Snow said.
The remaining work is still behind the initial schedule and streetscape work has shifted to the north side of Miracle Mile. Substantial completion of the work on the Mile is now set for January or February 2018. The initial estimate was August of this year. Substantial completion of the Giralda Avenue work is expected by the middle of next month.
“I guess I wouldn’t be fully relieved until [the project’s] fully done and the foot traffic is back and the merchants have recovered,” Quesada said.
Last month, the City Commission also approved a pilot program to close Giralda to vehicular traffic for the next two years. Giralda will be blocked off to vehicle traffic with removable blockades.
When the work is completed on the two roads the city hopes to see a fully realized modernized look for both streets with pedestrian-friendly design, new lights and trees and other amenities.