South Miami

Commissioner Welsh is still miffed by Underline

Artistic conception of the proposed Underline linear park beneath the Metrorail line at Brickell Station. But Commissioner Bob Welsh said he rode his bicycle from 67th Avenue to Brickell Station to find that the land for the proposed linear park was only about 75 feet wide, and not the 120 acres that it claimed was available.
Artistic conception of the proposed Underline linear park beneath the Metrorail line at Brickell Station. But Commissioner Bob Welsh said he rode his bicycle from 67th Avenue to Brickell Station to find that the land for the proposed linear park was only about 75 feet wide, and not the 120 acres that it claimed was available.

The South Miami City Commission met on Tuesday, May 19.

The main item

Presentations by Meg Daly, president and founder of Friends of the Underline, and George Navarrete, deputy director of the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department for Miami-Dade County, were not enough to sway Commissioner Bob Welsh’s opinion that the $25,000 the city gave to the Underline project could have been better spent. The Underline is a proposal that would convert the underused path that runs under the Metrorail tracks from Dadeland to Brickell into a landscaped 10-mile linear park and bikeway connected to adjacent neighborhoods, schools and workplaces.

Welsh said he rode his bicycle from 67th Avenue to Brickell Station to find that the land for the proposed linear park was only about 75 feet wide, and not the 120 acres that the proposal claimed was available.

“It exacerbated it worse,” Welsh said. “I think it was the guy from the county parks that said we don’t know what we’ve got in response to my questioning. ... Did they really have 120 acres that they could build on? If you ask donors for a half a million bucks, to go out and get grants, and you are going to try to get $100 million in grants, you damn well better know what you got. They admitted they don’t.”

Other business

▪ Refinancing debt: After its original capital improvements refinancing proposal with BB&T fell through after a city lawsuit in 2012, the city was able to renegotiate with the bank. The original proposal was based on a 3.50 percent interest rate and $640,000 net present value savings. The new interest rate is 2.80 percent and an approximate $828,000 net present value savings on an amount not to exceed $5,000,000 over 17 years. The ordinance passed unanimously.

▪ Fuchs Park: The commission consented to authorize City Manager Steven Alexander to execute a grant agreement for $50,000 in funding for the Fuchs Park project. The project includes a playground and picnic facility renovation, as well as benches, picnic tables and grills. It no longer includes restroom renovations. An unexpected fire prompted the restroom renovations, using city funds, prior to the grant.

They said it

“What I’m hoping to hear from [Daly] is ‘here is South Miami’s $25,000 back, go plant trees along the Metrorail in South Miami.’ That probably won’t happen, but that’s what I’d like to hear.” — Commissioner Welsh

You said it

“This commission has really been a thought leader in the community about bicycling as an alternative mode of transportation. Sometimes when you’re out in front of it and leading the conversation, it has to be rewarding that these things are starting to happen.” — Meg Daly, president, Friends of the Underline

The next meeting

▪ When: 7 p.m. June 2

▪ Where: City Hall, 6130 Sunset Dr., South Miami

  Comments