Miami Beach

Miami Beach planning to relocate Teen Center

Miami Beach Senior High freshman Walter Darocha, 14, plays pool during the grand opening of Teen Club in 2009 at the 21st Street Recreation Center.
Miami Beach Senior High freshman Walter Darocha, 14, plays pool during the grand opening of Teen Club in 2009 at the 21st Street Recreation Center. MIAMI HERALD FILE

Miami Beach wants to relocate the 21st Street Teen Center, which will have to move to make way for the massive renovation of the city’s convention center.

The city’s parks department is looking into building a new teen center in a parking lot of the Scott Rakow Youth Center, at 2700 Sheridan Ave.

At Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, parks director John Rebar told commissioners that staffers are ready to consider the parking lot for a two-story building that would feature the new teen center on the second floor and parking on the first. A report would come back to the commission’s finance committee.

According to a staff report, the planning department will determine the allowable square footage, number of parking spaces and maximum height requirements for the building. Staff will also look into the impact of closing Sheridan Avenue between Pine Tree Drive and West 28th Street, which could improve pedestrian safety and a safe drop-off and pickup zone.

The popular center, which currently has 300 teens enrolled, offers after-school and summer programs. Given the timeline of the convention-center project, the teen center is expected to be vacated by the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.

The City Commission unanimously approved going forward with the study.

Also at Wednesday’s commission meeting:

▪ Noted Argentine hotelier Alan Faena stopped by City Hall to ask the commission to support loosening zoning restrictions in a six-block swath of properties he owns between 32nd and 35th Streets along Collins Avenue. He wants the city to create an overlay district that would would allow for stand-alone spaces for art exhibitions and small retail shops. Now, the zoning code only permits these uses only in combination with a hotel.

Representatives from the neighboring condominiums Portugal Towers and King David Towers said while they support much of the project, they’re worried about the noise and traffic that the zoning change could allow.

“All we want at the end of the day, is to enjoy our neighborhood,” said Shimi Goldberger, property manager for Portugal Towers. “Let us enjoy our peace and quiet.”

The commission gave initial approval to creating the district with the understanding that Faena would work with neighbors to iron out details together before the next vote.

Dressed in his signature all-white outfit and Panama hat, Faena told the Miami Herald he was confident he could alleviate neighbors concerns as the project moves forward.

“I think this is a good project for Miami in general,” he said. “We will continue to work with our neighbors on this.”

▪ The city will start looking into the creation of a Mid-Beach trolley. City Manager Jimmy Morales said staff will start the process of studying the area. A South Beach trolley loop around Alton Road and West Avenue is already running, and a North Beach trolley will debut Wednesday.

▪ Commissioners passed a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Michael Grieco urging the Legislature to pass laws that would limit the use of plastic carryout bags and encourage use of reusable bags.

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