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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Miami, Dade leaders reveal multibillion-dollar downtown plan

By LARRY LEBOWITZ AND MICHAEL VASQUEZ
Miami city and county leaders have forged a multibillion-dollar public-works bonanza that could alter the face of the downtown core -- affecting everything from a baseball stadium to a port tunnel to museums.

The plan, coming together with rare speed in the world of governmental red tape, envisions a holiday bounty of projects aimed at garnering support from constituencies ranging from sports fans to arts patrons.

Announced late Wednesday by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, the deal would cover everything from a $914 million tunnel leading to the Port of Miami to finally transforming fallow Bicentennial Park into a waterfront jewel with new art and science museums.

By also shoring up the shaky finances at the fledgling Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, the plan's framework would free up additional tax monies that could be used to build a $525 million retractable-roof ballpark for the Florida Marlins.

''This is a great opportunity for all of us -- all of us -- to create an incredible legacy for the urban core,'' Diaz said following a long day of negotiating the multi-party pact -- and then selling it to individual commissioners.

While Diaz and others in the city embraced the so-called ''global'' agreement with the county, many questions remain.

One is whether a deal this complex can actually come to fruition. With so many parts forming the larger whole, it's possible that criticism of one piece of the blueprint could derail others.

Secondly, the intricate financing has been crafted in a way to sidestep a potential voter referendum -- which could embolden critics.

COMMISSIONS TO VOTE

Selling it is key, and the first test comes Thursday when Miami commissioners decide whether to move the multilayered plan forward.

County commissioners would then begin their review of key pieces of the ballpark financing and redevelopment plans Dec. 18.

The framework -- hashed out over several weeks of behind-the-scenes talks with city and county managers -- centers on expanding the Omni Community Redevelopment Agency to include Bicentennial Park and Watson Island.

CRAs are federally mandated special taxing districts that generate extra cash for areas targeted for revitalization. By aiming to expand the key Omni district, Miami leaders envision new infusions of money that would be doled out for multiple big-ticket projects.

The biggest beneficiaries of this new Omni CRA would be the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts and a proposed new ballpark for the Marlins at the soon-to-be-demolished Orange Bowl.

Diaz said the county would essentially receive up to $400 million in CRA revenue over the next 30 years to cover debt service on the arts center.

This will free up somewhere between $160 million and $200 million in tourist taxes from the PAC -- that the county and city could then use for the ballpark in Little Havana.

PARKING GARAGE

Less certain: whether the will, and the money, exist to build a 6,000-space parking garage and one of Diaz's personal projects -- a 25,000-seat soccer stadium also proposed for the 40-acre Orange Bowl site.

By expanding the CRA boundaries over the MacArthur Causeway to Watson Island, the city believes it can also use $50 million in CRA money to pay its share of the $914 million Port of Miami Tunnel over the next 35 years.

Florida transportation officials had vowed to move their $457 million share of the tunnel deal to other parts of the state if the city didn't put up its $50 million piece by Monday.

''I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, no pun intended,'' said City Commissioner Joe Sanchez, who represents the Orange Bowl area.

Miami property owners would also benefit from the expanded Omni CRA, city leaders say.

Diaz said the city would pay off its outstanding debt on the troubled Jungle Island construction loans from the expanded CRA instead of general revenues.

By expanding the boundaries into Bicentennial Park, the city would also use $68 million in new CRA revenue for the development of Museum Park -- including a planned underground parking garage. The CRA money would not be used to build the museums.

OVERTOWN IMPACT

Another question mark: whether city officials will be legally permitted to spin another $2 million a year out of the CRA to pay for ongoing capital improvements inside the park.

A second, more hard-pressed, special tax district would also benefit under the city-county pact.

The Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA, which generates considerably less revenue than the Omni, would be extended to year 2030 and its boundaries expanded to 20th Street on the north and Northwest Seventh Avenue on the west.

The city would spend up to $80 million for affordable housing, infrastructure, parks and job programs in the economically depressed Overtown neighborhood, and it would set aside $35 million for the city's struggling streetcar plan.

Diaz said Miami planned to adopt a pay-as-you-go approach when spending the CRA money on these big-ticket items over the next 30 years, rather than floating bonds to bankroll the projects.

The unstated reason: The projects wouldn't have to face voter approval.

In previous years, the city had contemplated issuing CRA bonds that could net perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars up front, to be used on large public-works projects.

But the Florida Supreme Court ruled in September that any bond issue local governments do with CRA money needs voter approval. Miami responded by abandoning its bond-issue plans.

This plan would sidestep those concerns.

DETAILS

As in every public project, the key is in the details, and literally hundreds of them still need to be hashed out.

First: Does Diaz have the three commission votes to pass the plan when the body meets this morning?

''God willing, [Thursday] we will approve possibly the most exciting -- largest, certainly -- package of projects in city history,'' Diaz said late Wednesday.

Commissioner Sanchez said of the ''global'' agreement: ``So far, it looks good. . . . It's a win-win situation for everybody.''

Herald staff writers Charles Rabin, Andres Viglucci and Matthew I. Pinzur contributed to this report.

 
Posted at 3:24:14 PM
 
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Updated: Friday, March 22, 2019


Septic or Sewer: Whats the Difference?

All of these functions >

1. Sewer system

2. Septic system

Sewer systems are different than a septic system because one >

Why Many Homeowners >

A sewer system requires no maintenance, but youll need to pay monthly fees for using the system. Local governments allow the homeowner to hook up the local sewer system, which will ensure all of your waste is gone forever.

Youll pay monthly, but you never have to worry about septic system costs and repairs.

Sewers can become clogged and they may backup over-time. This happens when neighbors and others in the community are flushing wet wipes or pouring grease down their drains. When major blockages occur, everyone is impacted.

You may not pay for the unclogging upfront, but your fees may rise to cover the expenditures.

Why Homeowners are Moving Back to Septic Systems

A septic system is your own system, and this is a tank system thats often able to hold 1,000 gallons of water. The three-layer system connects to the home, and the system is placed in the ground on the homes property.

Often seen as an eco-friendly option, you wont pay monthly fees to use your septic system.

Clogging of the system is also your fault. If the system becomes clogged, this is due to your actions: i.e. youre flushing items that cannot breakdown in the system.

Septic systems can be costly to install, and all of the maintenance and repair fees must be paid by the homeowner.

But "sewer betterment" fees are often imposed on homeowners, with some fees being in the 10,000 range. This may include fees for installation and repairs. When these fees are considered, this is often higher than the cost to install a septic system on the land.

Septic systems do need to be pumped, and this can cost 200 - 300 every 3 ndash; 5 years.

Concrete tanks can last 40 years with proper maintenance, while steel tanks have a lifespan of 15 ndash; 20 years.

"Septic systems should be inspected and pumped a minimum of once every three to four years. You may not be experiencing any problems now, but a full septic tank may allow unwanted solids to flow into the drain field, which is the part of the system that consists of a distribution box and a series of connected pipe," explains Apollo Drain.

Septic systems also offer the benefit of being able to build a home in a remote area, which may not have a sewer system connection close by. But when sewer systems are close to the home, theyre often chosen because they can handle large amounts of waste at a time. During storm periods where heavy rains occur, sewer systems are able to handle the water with much greater ease than a septic system.

nbsp;


> Full Story

How to DIY Abstract Art

Yes, you can scour the internet for abstract art in every color, shape, and size, and yoursquo;ll pay a pretty penny for a lot of it. Or, you can D-I-Y your A-R-T. Itrsquo;s easier than you think to create something that looks like you dropped some serious cash to dress up your walls, and you might even have a good time while yoursquo;re at it. Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing.

Create dimension

Ever see those abstract paintings that have texture and dimension and wonder how they got such a layered look? This tutorial uses a clever trick to approximate the look of ldquo;elevated brush or painting-knife strokesrdquo;: tissue paper Who ever thought an item you use to blow your nose could be so beautifully useful.

Get the right tools

Yoursquo;ll need a canvas, some paint, and at least one paintbrush, obviously, to make your art. But incorporating some other tools can give it a unique, professional look. Drywall spatulas give this painting nbsp;its textural flair without the brush strokes. Varying the usage and pressure of the spatulas and paint brush allow you to create as muchmdash;or as littlemdash;texture as you want.

Pass the alcohol

The alcohol inks, to be exact. If you havenrsquo;t heard of this before, itrsquo;s about to become your favorite craft item. ldquo;Alcohol inks are an acid-free, highly-pigmented, and fast drying medium to be used on non-porous surfaces,rdquo; said Create for Less.

While the finished product of this abstract art looks complicated, itrsquo;s actually a simply process, and one that creates cool-looking art that can be done and hung in a matter of minutes. Watch the tutorial to see how easy it is, but beware: Yoursquo;re dealing with fire here, so, if yoursquo;re accident prone, you might want a chaperone.

And more alcohol

Using rubbing alcohol to blur the lines helps create the ldquo;splash effectrdquo; on this painting. It looks like fluffy clouds to us. One thing is for sure: No one will ever know you did this yourself

Go all Jackson Pollock

Your masterpiece may not end up in the Museum of Modern Art MoMA, but itrsquo;ll sure become the centerpiece of your space Get your splatter on and create a piece yoursquo;ll love.nbsp;This tutorial shows you how. It also shows you how to create your own canvas, but, unless yoursquo;re super keen on this part of the DIY experience, you can save yourself some time and hassle, and maybe even an injury, by picking up a finished, framed canvas at a store like JOANNs, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby.

Dont restrict yourself to just paint

Canrsquo;t find the perfect shade for your art? Tint it yourself This dreamy abstract painting is part paint, part food coloring

Think outside the lines

Animal print is the inspiration for this spotted art. Black and gray paint on a white background keeps it neutral, and the gold-sprayed framed provide a pop. Do like the artist and use watercolors to ldquo;vary the depth of the spots to make it look more natural.rdquo;

Make it fancy

A little touch of metallic takes this art to the next level. This cool painting uses golf leaf, but you can also experiment with metallic paint if yoursquo;d rather.


> Full Story

Kitchen Cabinets: Paint em Yourself or Pay the Big Bucks?

Preparation is key when painting your cabinets, and the number of steps yoursquo;ll need to follow to achieve a quality finish can seem impossible. Yoursquo;ll want to remove the doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. Fill in any holes and smooth out any gouges. Degrease, sand, vacuum, wipe, sand some more, vacuum some more, wipe some more. And maybe then yoursquo;ll finally be ready for primingmdash;but not painting on the actual color, because that comes after priming.

Frankly, every step is important, and if you miss one, you could end up with a result yoursquo;re unhappy with, or a finish that doesnrsquo;t hold up. If yoursquo;re the type who isnrsquo;t likely to finish what yoursquo;ve started, perhaps you shouldnrsquo;t embark on this paint-your-own adventure. Your old, dated cabinets are still better than half-old-and-dated, half-done cabinets. But if you still want to go for it, at least be prepared for a few realities:

Yoursquo;re never going to get a look as good as the professionals

You may come close, and you may fool your friends, but therersquo;s a reason you pay professionals a couple to several thousand dollars for something verging on perfection.

Your arms will hate you

Which is not such a bad thing, really. You can skip a few ldquo;arm daysrdquo; at the gym if you really put your effort into it.

Yoursquo;ll never want to look at another piece of sandpaper again

Get ready for hand cramps. Thatrsquo;s how you know yoursquo;re doing it right. Sanding is critical to achieving the look you want and making sure the paint sticks.

ldquo;Sand all surfaces with the grain using 100-grit paper. To make sure no bits of dust mar the finish, vacuum the cabinets inside and out, then rub them down with a tack cloth to catch any debris that the vacuum misses,rdquo; said painting contractor John Dee on This Old House. ldquo;Hand sanding is the best technique on oak because you can push the paper into the open grain, which a power sander or sanding block will miss."

The dust is NEVER-ENDING

Refer back to all that sanding. Seriously. This is not a job for any old vacuum. You can rent an industrial vacuum at Home Depot, and itrsquo;s a good idea to also have a smaller vacuum with crevice tools and more rags for wiping and cleanup than you ever imagined needing for anything.

You need a system for keeping track of every door, drawer, and piece of hardware

Sounds easy, but one mistake and yoursquo;re in a world of hurt. If you donrsquo;t label every single door and drawer correctly, theyrsquo;ll get mixed up and they wonrsquo;t fit correctly. While yoursquo;re at it, donrsquo;t forget to label your hinges and handles, too.

ldquo;I read a dozen blogs that said to label my hinges so that they would all go back in the same places,rdquo; said Cori George of Hey, Letrsquo;s Make Stuff. ldquo;But I figured all the hinges were the same, so why spend the time? Huge mistake. The hinges had worn in specific ways in the last two decades and a half, so that after they were painted and I was putting the bathroom back together, none of the hinges worked quite right. I ended up sort of forcing everything into place, and while the doors work, they donrsquo;t work as well as they would have if Irsquo;d labeled them.rdquo;

There will be smudges. And maybe even an errant hair.

Yeah, it happens. Just remember to breathe as yoursquo;re redoing the same cabinet door for the fourth time.

The fumes are horrible

Speaking of breathinghellip;it wonrsquo;t be easy, depending on what kind of product you use.

When someone else is doing your cabinets, you can escape the fumes by gathering the family in a different part of the house for the couple of days of painting, or, even better, check into a hotel and take a little staycation. The DIY version means yoursquo;re all up in those fumes for however long it takes to get your cabinets done, which is likely longer than what the pros can accomplish. The degreaser yoursquo;ll likely need to use to get your cabinets cleaned up before applying any primer or paint is stinky, and certain kinds of paint are no better.

ldquo;In truth, oil primer and paint adhere the best and give the longest-lasting results on cabinets, but because of VOCs, oil is outlawed in many states,rdquo; said Albert Ridge of Ridge Painting in NYC on Remodelista. ldquo;A good alternative is water-soluble waterborne paint, such as Benjamin Moorersquo;s Advance, which is something like a latex-oil combo. But note that it dries quickly, so itrsquo;s wise to add an extender that allows you to the time to get a nice finish without brush marks. And if yoursquo;re painting something plasticky or otherwise hard to paint, Stix is a good primer to know about.rdquo;

The good tools are a worthwhile splurge

Professional painters typically want to spray cabinets because the finish comes out so smooth, although some do prefer the control a brush can bring. No matter which option you go with, you want the best tools you can afford. Paint Sprayer magazine tested a number of options, and the top-ranked sprayer is only 129mdash;a small price to pay for a smooth finish. You do want to make sure you practice ahead of time if yoursquo;re going this route. Poor spraying technique could result in an uneven finish or lots of drips.


> Full Story



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Tel: (305) 753-4154 | Fax: (305) 960-2008 | shelly@museumparkrealty.net
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