Team Created to Address NOBE Quality of Life Issues

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Team Created to Address NOBE Quality of Life Issues:

Illegal dumping, cleanliness, code compliance, street repairs and landscaping at top of the list

Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales has put together a multi-departmental task force to address quality of life issues in North Beach. Known as NEET, the North End Enhancement Team, the effort will be a once weekly blitz to clean up the area, make repairs, and ensure property owners are doing what they need to do.
 
“The City has had a significant focus on North Beach over the past five years, and there are many outstanding projects in the pipeline that will be real gamechangers for the area,” Morales wrote in a letter to City Commissioners. “That said, I am not satisfied with the progress we have made in tackling everyday problems like illegal dumping, cleanliness, code compliance, street repairs and landscaping. I know we can and must do better.”
 
The multi-departmental team will spend at least one day a week “blitzing North Beach with human and physical resources to make a significant dent” in the identified areas, Morales said. “This is not a team that will sit in conference rooms having meetings, but instead will be in the field addressing the issues in real time. Since most issues usually require multi-disciplinary solutions, let’s bring out these resources to work in tandem in the field to have a maximum immediate impact.”
 
Morales said there is “no increase in head count or additional costs associated with the program.”
 
“The key is to conduct recurring sweeps in North Beach to change the look and narrative in the NOBE neighborhood,” he wrote.
 
In an interview with RE:MiamiBeach, Morales said he came up with the idea a few weeks ago after driving around North Beach. “It struck me that despite all the efforts we’re making out there… general conditions up there are not where I would like them to be… and certainly not the level that we see in Mid and South Beach.”
 
“One of the differences you have up in North Beach, it’s more of a working class community, there are not as many organized HOAs and other groups, not as many community activists that are daily watching and calling like you have in other parts of the City, so things sit on the street for several days that wouldn’t sit on the street in South Beach half an hour,” he said.
 
Through the NEET team, the City can be more proactive than reactive, Morales added. They will mobilize once a week for a day, hitting different sections, to give North Beach “the kind of TLC it needs.”
 
Thursday was the team’s first day.  “The idea there is whatever they see, if they can fix it, fix it. If they can’t, because it requires different skill sets, report it.”
 
In the first full day, the team collected shopping carts left on the street, old furniture, removed graffiti, cited properties or asked property owners to fix something up before they get a citation, put mulch in tree pits, and did some landscaping, where appropriate.
 
While it’s early, at least one resident has reached out to Morales and said they were excited to see what was happening.
 
The team is spearheaded by the City’s Assistant Code Compliance Director, Tom Curitore. Curitore previously worked for the Mayor’s office in New York City where one of his projects was to spearhead the MARCH (Multi-Agency Response to Chronic Hotspots) program where he provided “multi-departmental responses to daily challenges in troubled spots in NYC,” Morales wrote in his letter to Commissioners. Curitore also served as the Director of the Wynwood BID after moving to Miami “where he played a similar role in focusing on daily challenges in that neighborhood,” Morales noted.
 
Police, Code, Sanitation, Greenspace, Parks, Public Works and Property Management will “provide personnel and equipment as requested by Tom on those days when sweeps will take place in North Beach. Tom will also coordinate with stakeholders in North Beach to leverage any other resources that might be available,” according to Morales.
 
Commissioner Micky Steinberg came across the first sweep and snapped a few photos. Steinberg, a North Beach resident, said, “I’m excited to see us move toward these enhancement efforts in our city especially in North Beach.”
 
Photos: Courtesy Commissioner Micky Steinberg
Above: City Manager Morales address NEET team

 
 
The NEET Team with Commissioner Micky Steinberg, center

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