written by on March 7, 2023
  • miamitodayepaper.com


Grant could salvage flood-ravaged Morningside Park

Morningside Park is available for more than $5 million to finance the first phase of a four-part revitalization of Bayfront Park, which is unusable due to flooding.

Today (3/9), the Miami City Commission will vote on a proposal to apply for a Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) grant to help build bulkheads and restore the shoreline at Morningside Park. If approved, phase one, which focuses on waterfront reclamation, will begin.

Project information states that Morningside’s biggest challenge is that the park is unusable due to prolonged flooding after severe storms and exceptionally high tides, known as king tides.
On March 10, 2022, the commission approved the project. The waterfront improvement phase, which includes bulkhead and shoreline restoration, is to come first.

The three phases to be addressed later focus on neighborhood drainage, park drainage, and the master plan and aquatic features.

The baywalk is to include a seawall bulkhead to combat sea level rise. It is to be built of permeable materials to allow storm water to seep into the ground, thereby improving drainage.
A 5 feet wide walkway is to be maintained along the shoreline covered with shade trees. Picnic tables and benches are to be added along the walkway.

A November 2020 survey found 58 black mangroves, 51 buttonwoods and 22 sea grapes along the shoreline. A tree survey was conducted in July 2022 to estimate the number and diversity of trees in Morningside Park at that time.

The project’s design plan retains existing trees, helping to meet the 50% immediate shade coverage required by city code.

Phase one also includes the establishment of a living shoreline to reduce erosion and address sea level rise. The existing living shoreline area is to be extended and supplemental coastal vegetation is to be added along with new bivouacs.

Project plans state that the size of the retained shoreline is based on site conditions, but the intent is to minimize flooding and maximize protection and stabilization to enhance park use.

The dinghy concession area is also to be improved as part of phase one.

If the commissioners approve the resolution, the city will apply for $2,496,564 from FIND’s Waterways Assistance Program, which is 50% of the total project cost.

If grant money is awarded, the city must allocate the necessary matching funds, as well as an additional $400,000 for non-reimbursable administrative costs. The total cost of the waterfront improvement phase of the project is estimated at $5,393,128.

Morningside Park, at 750 NE 55th arrondissement, opened on June 13, 1953. Advocates say the once-vibrant park, nearing its 70th birthday, is in dire need of improvements to prevent flooding and enhance natural elements.

The community called for the project to promote sustainability and maintenance of the park, enhance amenities and access, while maintaining the unique character of Morningside.

Today’s commission meeting is scheduled to begin with the appearance of Miami resident Elvis Cruz; Daniel Maland, a board member of the Morningside Civic Association (MCA); and Jonathan Raff, MCA Treasurer.

Construction of the baywalk and shoreline improvements is estimated to take three years and cost $13 million to $14 million. The other three phases will take three to four years to complete. The total estimated cost of the renovation of Morningside Park is $36 million to $42 million.

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