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Five things that will change Miami in 2018

We kicked off 2018 by taking a look at five things that we think will change the Magic City this year. Read on for everything from food halls to new transit to big deal elections.

Who did these sharp lookin’ cartoons? That’s would be local cartoonist Tana Oshima. You can find more of her work here.

In 2017 we got 1-800-Lucky, the new Asian food hall in Wynwood. But in 2018, we’re getting at least FIVE more food halls. Say hi to La Centrale in Brickell City Centre, Time Out Market in South Beach, Central Fare in MiamiCentral in Downtown, St. Roch Market in the Design District, and The Citadel in Little River (which will have an entire restaurant devoted to avocados, because Instagram).

Not sure what the difference is between a food court and a food hall? The Miami New Times explains it like this:

Food halls aren’t vacuous, airport-style food courts. They serve fare prepared by seasoned chefs and presented on real china. Centralized bars serve craft beer and smart cocktails, and coffee roasters host cupping sessions. The beauty of the food hall is choice. If you want oysters and your friend craves brisket, you can both be sated.

Trailblazing Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban-American elected to Congress, has been repping South Florida’s District 27 for almost 30 years, so it was a big deal when she announced last year that she wouldn’t run again in 2018.

Democrats began announcing their plans to run pretty much immediately, and there are now EIGHT of them in the race for the Democratic candidacy. The party is pretty sure it can turn the district blue this year – Hillary Clinton won by almost 20 percentage points in 2016 and there aren’t any strong Republican candidates stepping up.

It’s very TBD who will win the Democratic primary in August, and the Republican Party could still find a strong candidate. But one thing is for sure: having a new person in Ileana’s seat, especially if they’re a Democrat, is gonna mean big changes for SoFlo politics.

Get ready to ride in style through the Tri-County area in 2018 – Brightline is finally arriving. The high-speed rail service will start running between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach next week and will reach Miami later this year.

All Aboard Florida, the company that owns Brightline, says it will take passengers just 30 minutes to get from Downtown Miami to Fort Lauderdale, and just another 30 minutes to get to West Palm Beach. 😮

Ticket prices are still TBD. As a privately-run service, it’s going to be more expensive than Tri-Rail, which costs only $3.75 to get from Downtown Fort Lauderdale to MIA. But it’s faster, with plenty of power outlets and strong wifi, and they’re expecting a lot of us to say “#worthit.” Will we say buh-bye to the I-95 Express Lanes to Broward?

Fútbol lovers, get excited: this may be the year that both David Beckham’s Major League Soccer team and the stadium planned for Overtown become real things.

Major League Soccer approved the team’s ownership group late last year, and could give the official OK to a Miami team as soon as later this month, ending a four-YEAR quest.

Beckham’s already got a site in Overtown, although residents of the long-neglected neighborhood are not so psyched. Many are worried that this could be another sitch when a major stadium is plopped down in the middle of a historic neighborhood, pushing them out. Beckham, the county, and Overtown residents will have to  have some serious talks this year about providing jobs and other investments to get everyone on board.

If all goes as planned, Beckham’s team is expected to start playing in 2020.

In November, City of Miami voters did something that was a pretty big deal: they approved a $400 million general obligation bond. About half of that will help Miami adapt to sea level rise. Another $100 million will help more Miamians get access to affordable housing. The rest will go to things like public spaces, roads, and public safety.

At least that’s the plan.

2017 was about getting the money, and 2018 is going to be about holding local government accountable for spending it the way you agreed for it to be spent.

And that’s just what the Citizens Oversight Board will do. It’ll be created in February and if you’re a City of Miami resident who wants to serve on it, you should hit up your district commissioner (contact info here) to let them know. They’re the ones who will be appointing the board.

If that’s too big a commitment, consider joining the Resilient Miami Working Group (part of the Miami Climate Alliance), which holds a weekly call on Tuesday evenings to talk about steps the City can take on the bond and beyond. Deets on that here.