MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The City of Miami released its first master plan to revitalize Little Havana.
The outline includes a vision of a more walkable community, add parks and green space, and improve public transportation.
“There has never been a more comprehensive study done on a neighborhood in the city of Miami,” says Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
It’s been in the works for about two years with the input of nearly 3,000 residents, before officially being announced Tuesday morning.
Raissa Fernandez is the third generation in her family to live in the neighborhood.
“I grew up seeing a lot of the same old folks that have taken these businesses here,” said Fernandez. “I have a business here, so a lot of them are my clients or my grandparents’ clients. It’s very personal.”
She works with the organization Live Healthy Little Havana, which contributed ideas to make residents healthier and happier.
“We thought of park design, green spaces and housing as top priorities,” Fernandez explains. “Because we know that it’s not just about physical health, but also social and economic.”
Part of the plan is improving public transportation in Little Havana, as well as making it more pedestrian-friendly.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins says they’ve come up with creative ways to connect the community.
“We create a ‘park street’ where we can connect Jose Marti Park to Riverside Park to Henderson Park,” she explains. The walkways would allow families to get from one place to another, without having to get in a car.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says this is as a roadmap, detailing ways they can both enhance and develop the community, while preserving historic architecture and its unique heritage.
“There’s work to be done, but if we continue to work on the neighborhood according to the suggestions in the plan, we can have a more revitalized Little Havana in the future,” he says.
It will be several years before all the suggestions actually come to fruition, but some elements, including improving Jose Marti Park, are already in the works.
Commissioner Higgins says it will be paid for by private-sector developers, the County general obligation funds, as well as a number of grants from health organizations.