Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava co-hosts South Dade Solutions Summit ... by gimleteye

Over the weekend County Commissioners Dennis Moss and Daniella Levine Cava hosted a public meeting to bring the South Dade community into a visioning process for its future. For a part of Miami-Dade County that has been under constant pressure of growth for decades, as Miami has sprawled outward into farmland, the meeting was a first: an effort to put vision ahead of rote, automatic land development. A press statement for the event included the following:
Palmetto Bay, FL— Today, Commissioners Daniella Levine Cava and Dennis Moss hosted the first South Dade Solutions Summit. Community leaders came together to discuss some of South Dade’s most pressing challenges. The three main topics discussed at the summit were: fueling the South Dade economy, transportation connectivity and parks and the environment. US Department of Transport Assistant Secretary Carlos Monje was the keynote speaker.

“The goal of the summit was to channel the knowledge and experiences of the South Dade community to implement efficient and effective solutions to some of our region’s challenges. We want to build on the area’s unique assets,” explained Commissioner Levine Cava “South Dade is a very special part of the County, with its own needs and opportunities.”

In order to encourage creativity and innovation, the summit was structured following a conversation methodology known as World Café. Over 170 participants discussed the topics in small group sessions and rotated around the room in order to hear different viewpoints as the day continued. Ideas and suggestions shared throughout the summit were consolidated and will form the basis for a South Dade action plan that will be developed by a team comprised of local elected leaders led by Commissioner Levine Cava and Commissioner Moss.

“The input of the community is going to be key in getting us where we want to go. If you have a plan that the community buys into, when resources come available, you have a plan to funnel those resources into,” said Commissioner Moss.
Commissioner Cava responded to the following EOM questions:

Why, the South Dade Solutions Summit?

South Dade has unique challenges and opportunities. To shape our future and ensure that we have the right kind of growth, we need shared leadership across the business, civic and government sectors.

What was the inspiration for the summit?

Districts 8 and 9 share the lower 1/3 of Miami-Dade's geography, and have many of the same needs. We need to come together to find solutions so we can bring South Dade its fair share of resources and opportunities, while preserving our unique assets.

Who participated?

Approximately 200 leaders from the community and organizations that serve the community. The mayors and council members from the District from Pinecrest which is not in district but is very linked, to Florida City, the two school board members for the area, Congressman Curbelo, representatives from our state legislature (the elected members are in Tallahassee for special session), Beacon Council, Greater Miami Visitors Bureau, Farm Bureau, Economic Development Center of South Dade, Chamber South, numerous faith and nonprofit leaders, FIU, MDC, Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park, tribe, Miccosukee Tribe, numerous Miami-Dade County departments, environmental and other advocacy groups).

How many citizens were involved?

In addition to above, community volunteers.

Can you comment on the record of civic engagement in South Dade compared to the rest of the county?

We are a very family and community oriented area, with many opportunities for community and civic engagement. However, there is a need for coordinated advocacy around the needs of the area.

How has your experience in civic engagement prepared you for this event?

I bring a lifetime of commitment to and experience with civic engagement to this role. We will not be able to put the needs of the citizens forward effectively without the active engagement of the citizenry. To counteract the influence of those who bring big money to the table, we need a base of concerned, informed and active residents.

Why isn’t this going to be another “talk” and “no action” moment? What are the outcomes you hope for the summit?

We will turn the results of our session into a set of goals and actions steps for the next three years, assigning roles and responsibilities, and monitoring progress with regular reports to the community. The "Leadership Group" to move the plan forward will be the two commissioners and 4 mayors for the districts, with input from other key stakeholders.

How do we prevent South Dade from simply becoming another version of West Kendall, because isn’t that what developers want?

By mobilizing through these and other efforts and making sure we can shape the future, rather than have others to dictate the terms.

Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava's opening remarks at the South Dade Solutions Summit:

Today’s event is a watershed for our community. It reflects unprecedented collaboration of government, business and our community leadership. Commissioner Moss and I issued the call, and you responded, enthusiastically. For your trust and hope we are so very grateful.

All of Miami-Dade faces enormous challenges, and also is blessed with tremendous assets. And South Miami-Dade looms large in both. We have about 1/3 the land mass, but a much smaller fraction of the population. That means we are poised for great growth. Indeed, we are the fastest growing part of the county.

Yet, the question for all of us is: what kind of growth. We want right growth, the kind that will bring jobs and grow our economy, while not sacrificing our natural beauty, open spaces, family orientation, dynamic culture and environment. We want to have a say in how that growth occurs. And that is why we are here today.

We organized the day into three key themes for our future: parks/environment, transportation connectivity and fueling the economy. Our environment is foundational, and that’s why it is first. Our transportation is the critical feature that will most affect our potential for success: can our residents, businesses, tourists get from here to there? Currently that is an open question. And finally, our economy is the backbone. Can we create jobs in our region that will lead to shorter commutes, building on unique assets like our agriculture and our two iconic national parks? Can we maximize the impact of our strong educational institutions and educational attainment of our residents?


Anonymous said...

Kudos to Comissioner Daniella Levine-Cava for spearheading this and Moss for joining her. We must have this type of forward planning and thinking to prevent the bad development mistakes of the past and present in other parts of the county. We are at a crossroads with development pressure growing by the day in South Dade. Hopefully this will bring all the South Dade communities to the table to better chart our collective future.

Anonymous said...

I also attended this summit and was impressed by the very breadth of the ideas that were brought forth. We seem to be very good at identifying problems, but the solutions are much harder to come by.
A topic of which I am very concerned with is traffic, and when I was commuting daily to downtown and the Beach on Old Cutler Road and used Old Cutler Road every weekday I know how critical it is that we limit the expansion of major developments on this road as it cannot be widened. I was very disturbed to listen to a council member from Cutler Bay state that he was very much in favor of the development sought by developer Fortuna just over the Palmetto Bay line in Cutler Bay on Old Cutler Road. When I questioned his reasons for supporting this, he said "well, we are a growing community and we need more businesses, more restaurants!" How sad is this attitude when this is the antithesis of smart growth by adding to the already horrible congestion on this road, and especially when Cutler Bay has huge commercial areas that could be expanded nearer to US 1. Let's see how much clout will be exerted to put in this latest outrage to the environment with yet another oversized and unneeded development. Will our elected officials EVER listen their constituents?