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Chasing Magic Dragons
1 week ago
Miami Dade County Community Forum
Subrata Basu, architect, planner and artist, left the planning jungle of South Florida to join the Peace Corps in Belize. His 34 years in public service included time as Community Redevelopment Director of South Miami and his last position as Assistant Director for Planning at the County. His leadership in numerous charrettes for urban centers demonstrated his deep commitment to creating livable communities and to promoting vigorous public participation in planning. He was a strong defender of the Urban Development Boundary and will be sorely missed. Our loss is the Peace Corp’s gain.
Emilie Young’s commitment to preserving the natural heritage of South Florida is a model for all of us. Under her leadership, the County’s Environmentally Endangered Land Program
acquired and maintained nearly 18,000 acres of rockridge pineland, tropical hardwood
hammocks, freshwater and coastal wetlands. This legacy will forever remind us of her love of the natural world, her commitment to the future of this County, and her incredible skill at
negotiating a good deal for the County taxpayers. She will be missed.
Paula Church was one of the quiet and forceful soldiers in the fight for good planning in Miami Dade County. Her commitment to the environment and sound public policy were cornerstones in her work on the County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan. As Supervisor in the Metropolitan Division, she was a gentle advocate for good planning and environmental protection. She was cherished by her colleagues and respected by the development community with whom she often strongly disagreed but respectfully and with good humor. Her passion for good planning, and for her home team – Go Canes – will be sorely missed.
For a lifetime of leadership in the State of Florida promoting growth management and environmental protection. He has demonstrated that economic development can be furthered by combatting urban sprawl at the same time. He is providing a legacy that needs to be restored, not dismantled.
Grace Solares was one of the founders of Miami Neighborhoods United,
a coalition of 21 City of Miami Neighborhood Associations. She now serves
as their President. She has been a champion for residential
neighborhoods in the new City of Miami zoning code “Miami 21.” Grace is
making sure city residents interests are protected in the new code. She also
took on City of Miami leaders to oppose the funding of the Marlins
Stadium. We want to thank Grace Solares for her commitment to the
community and for her partnership on numerous issues and events with the UEL.
Harry Horgan has been an important member of the South Florida community through his extraordinary programs focused on improving the lives of individuals with physical, developmental and economic challenges. His mission has extended to include the importance of environmental protection by incorporating the adjacent spoil islands/eco islands into Shake a Leg's educational programs. In working alongside various agencies and volunteer groups, Harry and his team have been able to restore these islands into rare gems made up of nature's treasures for all to enjoy and explore. The UEL commends Harry and Shake a Leg for taking such a bold environmental restoration initiative.
In January, the city of Miami signed an agreement with Miami Access Tunnel, the company in charge of the massive project, allowing it to deposit up to 55,000 cubic yards of material displaced from the drilling preparation and drilling itself on Virginia Key’s northwest coast. In exchange, the company promised to use the fill to build a berm around the unsightly — and odoriferous — Virginia Key sewage plant. And:
Virginia Key should not become a casualty of the Big Dig. It is one of the few waterfront locations for family recreation in the city, and must be protected — even as a deeper port propels Miami forward.
Howard Gregg’s contributions to the Miami Dade County Park and Recreation system over his 34 year career are too numerous to mention. To mention just a few: under his leadership the Department more than doubled its land holdings, from 6,000 to 12,000 acres; he helped establish the Natural Areas Management Division (NAM) which restores natural habitat; and he recently led the development of the Park and Open Space System Master Plan; a 50 year vision for making Miami-Dade County a healthier and more livable community. We wish him well in retirement in the land of orchids – Hawaii.