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Earlier this month, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved plans for American Dream Miami, a $4 billion mall/theme park that will include retail, a water park, and indoor ski slopes.
When built in northwest Miami-Dade, it will be the biggest mall in the United States.
A lot of you were not about it, judging by the comments when we shared the news. Retail is dying, you said. What about local businesses and stores, you asked. You pointed to our region’s major issues with water – too much of it in places where it shouldn’t be, and not enough of it where it needs to be – and said this would just make things worse.
These are all solid points. But there was only one “no” vote on the county commission: Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. She shared with us why she put her foot down.
THE TRAFFIC: The mall is expected to bring an additional 70,000 people a day, mostly tourists, to the area. But it’s seven miles from the closest transit corridor, which would mean doubling the size of the turnpike and widening local roads to help people get there. And our transit system is already in a “near-crisis state” because of budget cuts, she writes.
THE ECONOMY: “After construction, American Dream Miami will provide mostly low-wage jobs in a community suffering one of the worst housing and transportation affordability crises in the nation,” Levine-Cava writes. She tried to get affordable housing included in the project, but American Dream Miami declined to put anything in writing, which means there’s no guarantee it will happen.
THE ENVIRONMENT: “This massive development will pave over hundreds of acres of wetlands on the sprawling western fringe of our county to build 6 million square feet of air conditioned space that includes indoor snow skiing and a water park,” Levine-Cava reminds us. Those wetlands are crucial to helping drain the area during heavy rain and high tides. And it takes a whole lot of energy to power a massive project like this. Imagine the A.C. bill for that indoor ski slope.
THE TL;DR: “On May 17, we faced a serious choice about our future: focus on the SMART plan to relieve traffic and spur economic growth within our existing communities, or divert already inadequate transit and roadway funds to move low paid jobs to the western edge of our county for a development that will likely seek public subsidy, worsen traffic, and jeopardize our water supply and environment. We chose the latter,” Levine-Cava writes.
Read on for the hard facts on what American Dream Miami will bring to Miami-Dade County.
Case closed. Memorial Day Weekend, also known as Urban Beach Weekend in Miami Beach, has been pretty wild and controversial on South Beach in the past. This time, it was pretty uneventful, aside from an unlucky person who tried to steal an unmarked police car. “We’re trying to keep inconvenience for residents as little as possible while recognizing that we live in an open society. It’s not a perfect process, but we’re trying to get it right,” Mayor Dan Gelber said. Meanwhile, Miami Gardens residents gathered to honor the memory of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed in action in Niger last year. (Miami Herald)
Hit the pavement, improve your city. We’re loving this Runner’s World feature on Frankie Ruiz, Miami’s runner-in-chief, on how runners can make their cities better. His mission is to encourage runners to experience their city by hitting the pavement, then empowering them to fight for better, safer streets. Hundreds show up every week for Brickell Run Club, which Frankie helped launch, so we’d say he’s well on his way. (Runner’s World)
You used to call me on my cell phone. Are “Scam Likely” calls blowing up your phone? Robocalls are a major headache in Florida. Early this month a #FloridaMan was fined for orchestrating 100 million of them. A Florida state senator wrote a bill to battle them, and it goes into effect on July 1. She says current laws aren’t working, but she hopes to change that. (WLRN)
Break out the ice cubes. Even though Florida faced its first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season this weekend, before the season even started, hurricane forecasters say that this year won’t be as bad as last year. But because their predictions are based on the temperature of the Atlantic ocean, they warned that storms could end up being stronger than they expect if water temperatures rise above average. (Miami Herald)
The next generation. Jorge Pérez, aka Miami’s “condo king,” transformed the city skyline, then transformed the cultural scene with his contribution to what is now the Pérez Art Museum Miami. But he’s getting ready to step back, travel the world, and focus on his art collection. When he does, his eldest son Jon Paul Pérez, will step up. Get to know him and the role he’s played in Wynwood’s development. (BisNow)
David vs Goliath. The families of two of the students killed in the Parkland shooting are suing American Outdoor Brands and Sunrise Tactical Supply, the manufacturer and seller of the gun that Nikolas Cruz used to kill their children. It’s a risky move: there’s a law in Florida that makes those who sue gun manufacturers and sellers – like these parents are doing – liable for legal fees and any lost income from the companies they sue. That could be in the millions for American Outdoor Brands. It’s definitely a case to watch. (WLRN)
Where “shooting is a pleasure.” Meanwhile, the Parkland students organized a “die-in” at a Coral Springs Publix last Friday, tracing the bodies of 17 shooting victims in the parking lot with chalk. It was a response to the grocery store’s $500,000 contribution to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, who is a very staunch supporter of the NRA. (He called himself an “NRA sellout” before Parkland.) Later that day, Publix announced it was ending political contributions for a while while it “reevaluated” its giving process. (Miami New Times, Orlando Sentinel)
🍜 5/30: Set your taste buds on fire with Phuc Yea’s Cesar Zapata (Wynwood)
🌽 6/3: Shop and eat local at the Yard’s Farmers’ Market (Wynwood)
Going to one of these events? Tag us on Instagram with @thenewtropic. Want your event here? You can always suggest it by sending the info over to [email protected]
TUESDAY, MAY 29
🍕 Learn how to make perfect Neapolitan pizza (Brickell)
🗳 Speed meet the Democratic District 27 candidates (Allapattah)
🌕 Dance like nobody’s watching at the Full Moon Drum Circle (North Beach)
🎤 Petit Biscuit is live at The Ground (Downtown)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 30
🌃 Play some disco frisbee (South Beach)
🧙 Catch Wizard of Oz on the big screen (Miami Shores)
🎽 Run a few miles, then drink a few beers (Wynwood)
🤝 Get to know the Miami Foundation (Coral Way)
THURSDAY, MAY 31
🤣 Choose Miami’s top comedian (Little Havana)
📺 Catch “Adult Swim” in Bayfront Park – including unaired episodes! (Downtown)
👙 Get on trend at the Miami Fashion Week Summit – through June 3 (Various locations)
🌃 Brunch in the moonlight (Design District)
🖼 Celebrate local artists at ProjectArt’s exhibition (North Miami)
Remember, you’ve got one less day until Friday this week. 🙌