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Miami River Project to Break Ground

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Miami River Greenway

Long-awaited greenway project finally breaks ground

Construction has started on the long-planned Miami River Greenway, a leafy promenade that will allow residents and visitors to walk, skate and bike along both banks of the once-spurned waterway.

By ANDRES VIGLUCCI

[email protected]

After years of planning and dreaming, the city of Miami has begun construction on two segments of the Miami River Greenway, the pedestrian promenade that will one day wend its way down the entire course of the waterway.

The new segments will begin connecting older, existing pieces of the pathway even as private condos now under construction on the river banks also start installing the required public riverfront walks.

That means that soon residents and visitors will be able to stroll, skate, jog, bike -- and, egads, dine! -- along uninterrupted stretches of the river in downtown Miami.

''The river greenway is well under way,'' said Brett Bibeau, executive director of the Miami River Commission, a city advisory group that helped develop the promenade project. ``It's moving forward wonderfully.''

The start of work will be marked with an official groundbreaking today.

Once work on the first two segments is finished, around June, the city expects to immediately commence construction on several other interconnecting pieces, said Danette Perez, a city spokeswoman.

''This is just the beginning,'' said Lavinia Freeman, program director for the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit group helping pay for and plan the greenway.

WEAVING ALONG

The segments under construction since late last month will weave along now-gritty North and South River drives, using public rights of way.

The segment on the river's north bank will start at an existing walkway behind the city administration building west of the Southwest Second Avenue bridge and extend past Lummus Park, by the popular Garcia's and Joe's seafood restaurants, to near the Fifth Street Bridge.

The south segment will begin under Interstate 95, connect with Jose Marti Park, and continue northwest to the recently completed Neo Lofts condo tower.

Workers will install broad new sidewalks, shade trees and native palms, and lights, benches, historic markers and directional signs to guide users.

''It's going to beautify the area, and it's going to improve the streets,'' Bibeau said.

The idea of a riverwalk dates at least to the 1970s, when the city began requiring new developments along the river to install public pathways next to the water.

The river was the birthplace of Miami, but as it grew the city turned its back on the increasingly polluted waterway. The river became a busy industrial port, lined by boat builders, repair facilities and shipping terminals.

The riverwalk idea was a way to provide public access to, and stimulate interest in, the river. Because little new was built on the riverbanks until recently, however, only a few disconnected sections exist.

Short walkways are tucked away behind the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, behind the city administration building, and along Jose Marti Park in East Little Havana, for instance. But they are little-known, little-used and often hard to find.

A renewed push to install the riverwalk began in 1999, when the Trust for Public Land released a conceptual plan adopted two years later by both the city and Miami-Dade County commissions.

The high-rise condo boom downtown and along the river has given the plan new momentum. With dredging under way to remove polluted river sediment, developers are paying to install riverwalks, typically also adding amenities like restaurants or caf

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Miami River Greenway

Long-awaited greenway project finally breaks ground

Construction has started on the long-planned Miami River Greenway, a leafy promenade that will allow residents and visitors to walk, skate and bike along both banks of the once-spurned waterway.

By ANDRES VIGLUCCI

[email protected]

After years of planning and dreaming, the city of Miami has begun construction on two segments of the Miami River Greenway, the pedestrian promenade that will one day wend its way down the entire course of the waterway.

The new segments will begin connecting older, existing pieces of the pathway even as private condos now under construction on the river banks also start installing the required public riverfront walks.

That means that soon residents and visitors will be able to stroll, skate, jog, bike -- and, egads, dine! -- along uninterrupted stretches of the river in downtown Miami.

''The river greenway is well under way,'' said Brett Bibeau, executive director of the Miami River Commission, a city advisory group that helped develop the promenade project. ``It's moving forward wonderfully.''

The start of work will be marked with an official groundbreaking today.

Once work on the first two segments is finished, around June, the city expects to immediately commence construction on several other interconnecting pieces, said Danette Perez, a city spokeswoman.

''This is just the beginning,'' said Lavinia Freeman, program director for the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit group helping pay for and plan the greenway.

WEAVING ALONG

The segments under construction since late last month will weave along now-gritty North and South River drives, using public rights of way.

The segment on the river's north bank will start at an existing walkway behind the city administration building west of the Southwest Second Avenue bridge and extend past Lummus Park, by the popular Garcia's and Joe's seafood restaurants, to near the Fifth Street Bridge.

The south segment will begin under Interstate 95, connect with Jose Marti Park, and continue northwest to the recently completed Neo Lofts condo tower.

Workers will install broad new sidewalks, shade trees and native palms, and lights, benches, historic markers and directional signs to guide users.

''It's going to beautify the area, and it's going to improve the streets,'' Bibeau said.

The idea of a riverwalk dates at least to the 1970s, when the city began requiring new developments along the river to install public pathways next to the water.

The river was the birthplace of Miami, but as it grew the city turned its back on the increasingly polluted waterway. The river became a busy industrial port, lined by boat builders, repair facilities and shipping terminals.

The riverwalk idea was a way to provide public access to, and stimulate interest in, the river. Because little new was built on the riverbanks until recently, however, only a few disconnected sections exist.

Short walkways are tucked away behind the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, behind the city administration building, and along Jose Marti Park in East Little Havana, for instance. But they are little-known, little-used and often hard to find.

A renewed push to install the riverwalk began in 1999, when the Trust for Public Land released a conceptual plan adopted two years later by both the city and Miami-Dade County commissions.

The high-rise condo boom downtown and along the river has given the plan new momentum. With dredging under way to remove polluted river sediment, developers are paying to install riverwalks, typically also adding amenities like restaurants or caf

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Miami River Greenway

Long-awaited greenway project finally breaks ground

Construction has started on the long-planned Miami River Greenway, a leafy promenade that will allow residents and visitors to walk, skate and bike along both banks of the once-spurned waterway.

By ANDRES VIGLUCCI

[email protected]

After years of planning and dreaming, the city of Miami has begun construction on two segments of the Miami River Greenway, the pedestrian promenade that will one day wend its way down the entire course of the waterway.

The new segments will begin connecting older, existing pieces of the pathway even as private condos now under construction on the river banks also start installing the required public riverfront walks.

That means that soon residents and visitors will be able to stroll, skate, jog, bike -- and, egads, dine! -- along uninterrupted stretches of the river in downtown Miami.

''The river greenway is well under way,'' said Brett Bibeau, executive director of the Miami River Commission, a city advisory group that helped develop the promenade project. ``It's moving forward wonderfully.''

The start of work will be marked with an official groundbreaking today.

Once work on the first two segments is finished, around June, the city expects to immediately commence construction on several other interconnecting pieces, said Danette Perez, a city spokeswoman.

''This is just the beginning,'' said Lavinia Freeman, program director for the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit group helping pay for and plan the greenway.

WEAVING ALONG

The segments under construction since late last month will weave along now-gritty North and South River drives, using public rights of way.

The segment on the river's north bank will start at an existing walkway behind the city administration building west of the Southwest Second Avenue bridge and extend past Lummus Park, by the popular Garcia's and Joe's seafood restaurants, to near the Fifth Street Bridge.

The south segment will begin under Interstate 95, connect with Jose Marti Park, and continue northwest to the recently completed Neo Lofts condo tower.

Workers will install broad new sidewalks, shade trees and native palms, and lights, benches, historic markers and directional signs to guide users.

''It's going to beautify the area, and it's going to improve the streets,'' Bibeau said.

The idea of a riverwalk dates at least to the 1970s, when the city began requiring new developments along the river to install public pathways next to the water.

The river was the birthplace of Miami, but as it grew the city turned its back on the increasingly polluted waterway. The river became a busy industrial port, lined by boat builders, repair facilities and shipping terminals.

The riverwalk idea was a way to provide public access to, and stimulate interest in, the river. Because little new was built on the riverbanks until recently, however, only a few disconnected sections exist.

Short walkways are tucked away behind the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, behind the city administration building, and along Jose Marti Park in East Little Havana, for instance. But they are little-known, little-used and often hard to find.

A renewed push to install the riverwalk began in 1999, when the Trust for Public Land released a conceptual plan adopted two years later by both the city and Miami-Dade County commissions.

The high-rise condo boom downtown and along the river has given the plan new momentum. With dredging under way to remove polluted river sediment, developers are paying to install riverwalks, typically also adding amenities like restaurants or caf

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Great project. Miami could definately use a little more urban greenspace with all the towers popping up. I don't think anyone wants to see a concrete jungle with no greenspace.

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