What’s New With This Story:
-The Street 98 project needs volunteers to help finish the street mural all day Friday. You can sign up online to help.
-Over 30 volunteers helped paint 10 intersecting pineapples between Miami Shores Auto Repair on the South side of NE 98th St. to Miami Theater Center on the North.
-There will be a kickoff party on November 11 from 5 PM to 9 PM.
-Some think that Plaza 98 could be a key element in the development of NE 2nd Ave as a viable downtown area for Miami Shores.
Miami Shores is not exactly known as a center for artistic expression in Miami-Dade County.
But some residents would like to see that change, as the Village’s downtown on NE 2nd Ave continues to develop.
That’s the spirit behind the Plaza 98 project, an ambitious but simple idea to turn a small section of NE 98th St into a “pedestrian friendly” gathering place for the community.
The project will prepare Miami Shores Village to turn the street into a programmable space that will host periodic community events, and a new destination for Downtown Miami Shores Village.
Throughout the day on Thursday, volunteers from the community could be seen painting a large mural on the street.
That mural is of 10 multi-colored intersecting pineapple’s that stretch across the road from Miami Shores Auto Repair on the South side of NE 98th St to Miami Theater Center on the North.
The project has been in the works for months and has backing from a core group of committed Miami Shores residents.
Among that group is Joe Clark.
An architect who has lived a few houses down from the Plaza 98 project, Clark came up with the street painting design.
Clark worked closely with the rest of the team to get a design approved with Miami-Dade County.
It was not the easiest feat in the world.
Clark said that he had to submit numerous versions of the design to the county before they accepted one.
The original design was to be a large yellow pineapple in the middle of the street.
But Tony Garcia, the principal of the urban design firm Street Plans said that the county rejected it because it would be “too distracting” to people on the road.
Officially, Plaza 98 is a collaboration between Miami Shores Village, the Greater Miami Shores Chamber of Commerce, Miami REALTORS, and Street Plans.
Garcia and his small team at Street Plans have helped to usher in a new urbanism across the county.
Working through Miami-Dade’s Quick-Build Transportation Program, Street Plans has been given the go ahead to create 18 “short-term, low-cost” transportation improvements to neighborhoods across the county.
Over 60 different projects were considered and Plaza 98 made the final cut.
“The Village was proactive about it,” Garcia told RISE NEWS while he surveyed progress on the project with a paintbrush in his hand. “This is about getting the county to understand that doing something like this doesn’t cost very much or take very long.
Other projects being taken on by Street Plans include bike lanes, bus lanes, murals and crosswalks.
Dana Wall is the project manager for Street Plans.
She said that the goal of Plaza 98 is to become Downtown Miami Shores’ main, central pedestrian space.
They see the mural as the first step in a process that will lead to period when traffic will be closed down on the street for food and art events.
“It is an effort to reimagine how the streets in Miami Shores can be used for more than just moving cars,” Wall said.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia is a local realtor who has been very active in the Plaza 98 project.
“This is a project by the community for the community,” Hegedus-Garcia said. “This is one of those true community building projects where everyone that wants to help is welcomed and encouraged.”
You can help finish painting the Plaza 98 mural on Friday between 8 AM and 6 PM.
You can sign up for a shift online.
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