South Beach is, well, South Beach and has always had the spotlight. North Beach has felt the love the past couple of years and with a new Master Plan has hopes for a revival. Now, Mid-Beach wants its turn.
With help from the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, the 41st Street Business Association is being reconstituted and, judging by a meeting this week, there is much enthusiasm and general consensus for moving forward on a “reactivation” of the 41st Street district.
More than 50 business and property owners met with Chamber and City leaders including City Manager Jimmy Morales and Commissioner Michael Grieco to discuss their vision for a vibrant and welcoming shopping and dining district. A number of the attendees were mult-generational residents and shop owners.
Brainstorming on a long-term vision included how to transform the area from a throughway into a destination. (The street is the City’s second highest trafficked Street after Alton Road.) Ideas ranged from upgraded signage to better parking options and making the area more pedestrian and outdoor café friendly by widening sidewalks. Commissioner Grieco pointed out that the road and sidewalks along 41st Street are the jurisdiction of the state and the process could take 2-3 years but he said he was willing to explore that route with the business owners if they decided that was a priority. With regard to parking, it was suggested the City look into converting its surface parking lot at 42nd and Royal Palm into a garage with first floor retail. Given the lot is located next to North Beach Elementary School, outreach would need to be done to gauge community opinion, but the discussion was designed to throw out ideas that might spark solutions.
In the short-term, business and property owners asked the City to help clean up what they say has become a run-down area. They point to unkempt landscaping, trash on the streets and sidewalks that is not picked up, potholes that are not repaired, as well as broken and inadequate lighting.
As to parking, the attendees asked the City to help find ways to alleviate daily shortages as well as acute shortages during special events like the upcoming boat show.
City Manager Morales promised to address several of the issues immediately – the trash clean up as well as broken lights. He promised to come out and look at street and alley lighting and assess solutions.
Both Morales and Commissioner Grieco expressed a willingness to continue to work with the group, stressing the businesses and property owners now need to organize to create a long-term vision that the City can help make a reality. Chamber President Jerry Libbin and Chairman Wayne Pathman offered continuing support as well.
For more information, contact any of the following:
Robin Jacobs/Robin Jacobs, Chamber Vice Chair and representing Miami Beach Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery.
Baruch Sandhaus, Beyond Restaurant
Jessica Feuntes, Cafe Avanti