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Posted on: February 6, 2020

Van Alen Institute and the City of North Miami to Celebrate Grand Opening

Ribbon Cutting and Block Party Van Alen Institute in North Miami

Van Alen Institute and the City of North Miami to Celebrate Grand Opening of Sustainably Re-purposed Repetitive Loss Site.  

North Miami, FL December 12, 2019 — Van Alen Institute and the City of North Miami proudly announce the Grand Opening of Good Neighbor Stormwater Park, a new kind of public space that combines a community park with local flood prevention. It will serve as a much-needed public amenity for the residential neighborhood of Sunny Acres. By integrating public space and stormwater infrastructure, the park will reduce residents’ flood risk, increase public awareness around flooding, and address the city’s broader sea level rise challenges.

The occasion will be marked with a Ribbon Cutting and Block Party on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m., at the project sited, located at 901 NE 144th Street, North Miami. Funded in part through the $80,000 Keeping Current: Repetitive Loss Properties Grant design competition, Department Design Office won the opportunity to repurpose the former repetitive loss site. Department Design Office is the interdisciplinary team who developed a master plan and pilot project to address repetitive loss properties in North Miami, while also promoting climate-consciousness, reinvigorating an underused communal area, and reducing the cost of flood insurance in hopes that other cities will also benefit from these learnings.

“On behalf of the North Miami City Council, I would like to thank Van Alen Institute and supporters for making Good Neighbor Stormwater Park a reality,” said North Miami Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime. “This open space not only addresses issues of climate change, but it makes North Miami more resilient and sustainable for future generations. This state-of-the-art project was definitely worth the wait and will serve as a beautiful space for all to enjoy.”

“In District 3, we have found a creative and innovative way to address repetitive loss properties,” said North Miami’s District 3 Councilwoman, Mary Estimé-Irvin. “This once vacant lot will now be a communal space, with artistic structures and Florida native trees and plants. As a City, we are proactively addressing local flooding issues to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. We are proud of this bold step to address this issue and our efforts toward other environmentally conscious projects.”

North Miami’s Good Neighbor Stormwater Park features a new piping and basin system. Stormwater will flow into a water retention pool, decreasing the amount of flooding on nearby properties with physical markers registering water elevation changes. The retention pool will also make flood water visible to members of the community, presenting an opportunity to increase local awareness about how much water the area receives and the changes in underground water levels. In addition to the retention pool, the site now includes an array of diverse plants and trees native to the area in order to highlight the different ecosystems that have been sacrificed due to development. The 18,000 square foot site is in a residential neighborhood, adjacent to three single-family residences. Due to the neighborhood’s varied topography, emphasis was placed on addressing the fact that some community members experience regular flooding and standing water, while others do not.

The re-design project took three months to complete.


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