Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May 14: It's the neighborhoods, Mayor Diaz

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Good for the Miami-Dade County appeals court judges who said no to a three-tower condominium project next to Miami's Mercy Hospital:

It seems that ever since Manny Diaz became Miami's mayor, he's been an advocate of building "up." It works - to a point. But the growing cluster of half-filled buildings dotting the city's skyline is an indication that it's time for him and the city commission to focus on other ways of attracting new residents.

How about revitalizing Miami's oldest neighborhoods?

Downtown Miami, once the Magic City's focal point, has yet to truly come back to life; the question of Macy's future at the old Burdines site still hangs in the air. Little Havana, which could be a great walking neighborhood, continues to struggle. Plans to revitalize Overtown are stop and start. That's just for beginners.

Mr. Mayor and commissioners, go ahead and take a look at those good plans for neighborhood revitalization from previously appointed task forces. Do what former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas tried to do with the county's economy during the 1990s: Set up a summit, put people to work and figure out the best way to bring those neighborhoods back to life. It's better than building a lot of castles in the air.

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