News

On Tuesday, 7/14, Mayor Valdes Fauli and Commissioners Lago, Fors, Keon, and Mena unanimously passed a resolution to match Miami-Dade County’s landmark $22.3 Million Federal BUILD grant secured in 2019 with a $7 million commitment from the City of Coral Gables.  The legislation, sponsored by Vice Mayor Vince Lago, provides a sum certain amount to be paid to Miami-Dade County by 2024 to be used for the construction of The Underline in Coral Gables. 

Read Miami-Dade County’s press release here for more information. 

Our pro-bono attorney, Daniel Balmori, has recently published an article in the Daily Business Review studying the correlation between infrastructure improvement and healing communities.

As Congress works on FAST Act and the INVEST in America Act legislation, both specific to US infrastructure investment, the focus is on new capital projects. What a lot of people don’t realize is that repurposing of existing infrastructure is also valuable. For example, the High Line in New York, Beltline in Atlanta, and The Underline in Miami are new facilities built from either abandoned or underutilized spaces and infrastructure.  

These types of projects are popping around the country, both in large and smaller markets.  While the focus has been on economic return on investment, which is substantial.  These projects are also revitalizing communities that were, in many cases, divided by interstates, railways, and major roadways.  This repurposed infrastructure provides community-building, public spaces and multi-modal options to residents including mass-transit, roads, multi-use trails, and greenspace.

To read the complete article click here.

The Underline has issued an Addendum to Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for Security Services for the first phase of The Underline, The Brickell Backyard.  Please click on the links below to access Addendum 1 and the updated RFP. Please note that the changes made in Addendum 1 are minor and for clarification purposes only.  To access the questions and answers received to date, please click on the link below:

All proposals for RFP 20-02 are due no later 5:00 pm on July 20, 2020.

Click here for Addendum 1

Click here for the Updated RFP

Click here for the Questions and Answers

The Underline Management Organization Issues ADDENDUM 2 to RFP 20-1, the Request For Proposals (“RFP”) For Grounds Maintenance and Porter Services

The Underline Management Organization (d/b/a The Underline Conservancy) has issued Addendum 2 to RFP 20-1 for the RFP for Grounds Maintenance and Porter Services. This addendum makes minor changes for clarification purposes only.  Please click on the links below to see updated information contained in Addendum 1 and Addendum 2:

3) The Updated RFP that reflects both addenda
.
All Proposals are due Friday, July 17, 2020 by no later than 5pm. Please consult the RFP for all other important details.
 

Change is in the air—as the world struggles under the weight of a pandemic and social unrest, we are hopeful that there will be positive outcomes.  

Something positive is coming.
Meanwhile, construction of our first half mile in the Brickell community is marching to completion. The native plantings are already attracting butterflies and birds. After seven years of public input, design concepts, construction and preparation for this moment, it is finally happening.  And we are excited and a little nervous.  We are eager to share The Underline with you this fall. 

Bringing The Underline to you

In anticipation of our opening, our partners have joined us in producing “Bringing The Underline to You” videos to offer a glimpse of what you can expect. Our first video, “Walking, together” features Yolanda Berkowitz of Friends of Miami Animals Foundation. Click here to find out all the reasons why you will want to walk your dog on The Underline.

 

Miami Voices,
Health together tomorrow

 

Tune in at 1 PM, tomorrow, Wednesday, July 1st for the premiere of Miami Voices, a 20-minute rapid-fire, virtual discussion about COVID-19 and public health. Sign up here now.

Hear from guests Frankie Ruiz founder of the Life Time Miami Marathon, Jessi Berrin of Baptist Health South Florida moderated by Fernanda Kuchkarian of Health Foundation of South Florida as they discuss how we are walking and biking more and if we will continue to do that post-COVID-19?
About Miami Voices.
From a global pandemic to racial equity, the past 4 months have tested the resiliency of communities throughout the world while forcing us to look at critical issues. These issues are wide ranging from public health, to affordability, equity and mobility. How will we respond to these issues? Will we change our behaviors long term? And is there the possibility of a silver lining?

Each week community leaders and subject experts will talk about Miami and change.  The next “Miami Voices, Moving, together” will be July 8th on Facebook Live. Stay tuned for info.

Stay mentally and
physically fit

 

Join Friends of The Underline, Baptist Health South Florida and the Downtown Development Authority for Midweek Mindfulness tomorrow, Wednesday July 1st at 3 PM (register here). This free 15-minute virtual meditation is led by Breath Specialist, Christina Casado.

Wear The Underline, together!

Wear The Underline and support our mission.

Can’t wait for The Underline to open this fall? Why not wear it now? You can buy an Underline mask, shirt or cap and also support our mission and vision. Plus if you make a $125 donation to The Underline through August 1st, we’ll send you one of our cool masks.
 

Buy Underline merchandise here.

The new positions, funded by the Knight Foundation, provide additional organization and structure as the project nears opening

Friends of The Underline (FUL), a 501C3 non-profit organization advocating to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile linear park, urban trail and public art destination, announced it has hired a new chief operations officer and chief technology officer to support the administration activities for the project. Both positions included an extensive hiring process and hundreds of applicants.

Patrice Gillespie Smith was appointed as COO and brings more than 20 years of experience as an urban planner working to build communities that are walkable, livable and resilient.  Prior to joining The Underline, she served as the Sr. Manager of Planning, Transportation and Resilience for the Miami DDA; led Neat Streets Miami and developed the Safer People, Safer Streets Action Plan and the Miami Dade Complete Streets Guidelines. Patrice also has executed transportation solutions in Seattle, St. Louis and Columbus, OH.

The role of CTO will be filled by Breanna Faye who has spent over a decade working at the intersection of architecture, design and technology throughout in the U.S., South America, Asia, and the Middle East.  A trained architect turned technologist, she has worked globally with organizations such as IDEO, MIT Media Lab, Dubai Future Foundation, and most recently Museum of Ice Cream where she was VP of Experiential Technology. She has overseen projects spanning the future of work, IoT, smart mobility, buildings and cities.

Funding for the positions comes from a grant that was awarded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in September 2019.  The foundation has been one of The Underline’s earliest and most active supporters donating nearly $2 million since 2015.

“As we near the opening of Phase I and prepare for facility operations, Patrice and Breanna add a new dimension of experience, knowledge and organization to our efforts,” said Meg Daly, President and CEO for Friends of The Underline.  “Building our capacity will help us leverage the momentum the Board has created and start delivering a world-class park for all of Miami to enjoy.”

The first phase of The Underline, The Brickell Backyard, is scheduled to open this fall.

About The Underline

The Underline is a planned 10-mile urban trail, linear neighborhood park and public art destination that will span from the Miami River, north of Brickell Metrorail station, to Dadeland South. The Underline project will feature dedicated bike and pedestrian paths, amenities, art, programming, lighting, native vegetation as well as safety features and improvements at road crossings. The Underline will be built in phases, the first of which will begin in the Brickell area. For more information visit, www.theunderline.org and/or follow them on social on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @theunderlinemia.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

By Meg Daly, Friends of The Underline CEO/President

With cars off the roads, we have taken to the streets and sidewalks walking and biking in droves. Bike sales have surged with The Guardian declaring “Bicycles are the new toilet paper: bike sales boom as coronavirus lockdown residents crave exercise.” A recent Reuters article says that US bike sales have boomed with bikes being considered essential transportation. And, back home in Miami on the MPath, the future Underline, neighborhood residents have doubled their use of the current narrow trail to get outdoors alone and with their families.
With the global shift to walking and biking during the coronavirus crisis, cities like Paris have added miles of new temporary bike lanes to build capacity, and cities from Bogota to Oakland are closing streets to make room for pedestrians and bikers.A flurry of articles explore a larger question: Could this crisis create an opportunity to remake our cities? Many experts think we would be healthier if our cities had more room for bicyclists and pedestrians. “Urbanists see a chance to save city dwellers not just from the sweep of a pandemic, but from the auto-centric culture that has dominated urban life for decades. They want to prioritize the movement of people, pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and their ilk-over cars,” says Wired Magazine.

And what does this mean for Miami? Certainly, projects like The Underline provide a large swath of safe, off-road, navigable trails for all ages and levels of ability. It provides a spine that connects to other off-road trails including Ludlam Trail and Miami River Greenway––and also connects to the popular Rickenbacker trail. In other words, we have an opportunity to be a city that embraces walkability and bikeability to ultimately be more resilient for future generations.

Let’s do this, together.

Photo courtesy Carl Kafka Photography 2020

In honor of Earth Day, Emma Loewe of mindbodygreen interviewed national green living experts about calming hacks to achieve tranquility during these stressful times.   Turns out that whether you are stuck inside or taking a hike, there are multiple ways to commune with nature.

Our very own Meg Daly, The Underline’s Founder and CEO, was featured talking about the healing effects of walks outside. “Nature gives me hope and reminds us that she will prevail in our darkest hour.” 

So, get out there, or stay in, but click here for tips on how to take advantage of South Florida’s verdant surroundings and enjoy the restorative power of nature! Thanks to Alex Daly of Daly.nyc, who connected us with the author.

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week!

So we want to celebrate Friends of The Underline loyal volunteers who are passionate about The Underline every day and help our dedicated non-profit do more than we are staffed to do.

Seven years ago we advocated to create a world class linear park, urban trail and community destination below Metrorail.  In that time, our volunteers have fueled The Underline’s progress by contributing their expertise, time, and wallets to advance The Underline project, our mission and vision. From donating thousands of hours of expert legal, accounting, and marketing advice and providing leadership as board members to volunteering at free community yoga classes and bike rides, our volunteers are crucial to the operations, programming and fundraising of our organization.

Below a handful of those volunteers share why they chose to support Friends of The Underline 501(c)(3).  If you see any of these folks around town or at an Underline event, please say “thank you” for giving back and for helping to create a brighter future for our community for generations to come.

Daniel Balmori, Sr. Associate Hogan Lovells, Friends of The Underline pro bono attorney
“I volunteer with The Underline because I believe that public spaces reflect and promote public values. We deserve more active, connected, engaging, welcoming and world-class public spaces because we are all of those things.”

Irene Camberyo, Masters Candidate of Landscape Architecture FIU, Volunteer
“I volunteer my time to The Underline to help improve my community. It’s a chance to display our tropical gifts in an outdoor space that everyone will enjoy.”

Nick D’Annunzio, Tara Ink Principal, Friends of The Underline Board Member
“I am proud to be part of The Underline because it unites – not only people but communities. The Underline will be a new calling card for our county.”

Karen Gonzalez, Kimley Horn, Volunteer
“I volunteer because I dream of a more walkable and sustainable city and I believe in the power of The Underline to transform our community.”

Arden Karson, CBRE Sr. Managing Director South Florida, Friends of The Underline Executive Committee Board Member
“Seeing the impact that the High Line has in NYC really motivated me to get involved in a big way because I truly believe The Underline will be transformative for our community.”

Alex Larmier, Berkshire Hathaway EWM Realty, Underline Cycling Club Chair
“To do my part in helping shape Miami into a greener, more bike-friendly city!”

Ryan Marks, Kaufman Rossin Engagement Manager, Friends of The Underline Board Member
“ I believe The Underline will promote a cohesive and inclusive urban identity by bridging different neighborhoods.

Josh Merkin, rbb Communications Vice President, Friends of The Underline Board Member
“The Underline will make our community more connected while being part of the solution to address some of our bigger challenges such as transportation and green space.”

Salma Rahmathulla, Pelicans Group Director, Friends of The Underline Board Member
“It’s a chance to celebrate what’s special about Miami. It’s botanical beauty, art and creativity, and the richness of its diverse communities. It’s what this city has been waiting for!”

Brent Reynolds, NRI CEO and Managing Partner, Friends of The Underline Board Member
“Creating communities which connect people to their environment in a healthy and meaningful way has always been a focus and passion of mine and that is what the Underline is doing!”

Alicia Torrez, Media Relations Group, LLC/ Florida Department of Transportation, Volunteer
“I volunteer because the project bridges our communities and connects our people. The Underline represents the future of Miami and I am proud to be a part of it!”

Pamela Warren, Comcast, Volunteer
“As a Miami native, I have a deep affection for our communities. By donating my time to make Miami a better place supporting this incredible mission is an honor.”

Eric Zichella, Principal P3 Management, Friends of The Underline Board Member
“We Love Miami
We Want to Make it Better
Support Underline”

On another note, we want to thank all the people who go to work every day during the coronavirus pandemic.  From driving buses, to delivering food and mail to picking up garbage, thanks for keeping us safe while you keep the wheels of the community turning.

Thanks to all of you!