As your Belle Isle Blog celebrates its first birthday, we’re reflecting on a year of community construction, collaboration and change.
We’ve met a lot of folks in Belle Isle and the surrounding islands since our first post. People tell us they appreciate a community website they can call their own, and one that tries to report what’s happening in our area from the perspective of island residents.
We’ve followed stories tiny and mid-sized (big for us), and tried to focus on neighborhood issues that touch our quality of life: traffic, zoning, crime, flooding. We’ve also attempted to highlight the heritage of this unique Miami Beach neighborhood.
Looking back, here are what we think were highlights of year one, 2010:
— Flooding. In June, Belle Isle and the causeway flooded for the second year in a row after sudden downpour. In October, we flooded (along with West Avenue and Alton Road) without rain, due to high tides and sea water rising up from the sewers. The city commissioned an $1 million engineering study to devise how to fix the problem, and we’ll keep you posted on the progress in the coming year. Meanwhile, work started Oct. 25 to address the frequent flooding at Island Avenue and Venetian Way on Belle Isle — and dragged through the New Year holiday.
— Venetian Causeway construction and the Streetscape Project. The city installed new water main mains during the last four months of the year on Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino islands, putting us in a pretty consistent state of road construction. With that work virtually complete, in January the focus moves on to the streetscape project, which will bring new lighting, landscaping, sidewalks and crosswalks. The construction process will be disruptive, but the end product promises to be beautiful.
— Belle Isle Key Apartments zoning battle. Miami Beach staff, the city Design Review Board and ultimately the city commission listened to concerns from Belle Isle residents (and the residents’ association) in turning down plans to replace the Belle Isle Key Apartments with two 5-story buildings. The building owner altered the plan repeatedly to try and satisfy residents and city concerns about the scale of the project, but they refused to lower the height of one of the two buildings from five to four stories as the design board recommended. So for now, things stay the way they are, and the owner will have to start the application process over again if he isn’t satisfied.
— Construction in our buildings. There have been major renovation projects in almost every condo on Island Avenue — the sea wall at Belle Plaza, the pool and entrance drive reconstruction at Costa Brava, the entryway at Nine Island and Island Terrace. And there is more to come (lots more) in 2011. Here’s a toast to projects coming in on time and on budget.
During the next two weeks, we’ll try to update these issues in separate posts.
Thanks again for reading the blog.