THE
UNDERDECK

Bringing Miami Together

THE
UNDERDECK

Bringing Miami Together

THE
UNDERDECK

Bringing Miami Together

About the Project

“The Underdeck” is a 33-acre public space that will be developed, under a reconstructed I-395, as a part of the “Signature Bridge” project. The Signature Bridge project is a partnership between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the City of Miami.

The Underdeck originates in Overtown and extends to Biscayne Bay near the Perez Art Museum Miami. Upon completion, the space will have a significant amount of green space and will also contain community based programming such as a heritage trail, legacy wall, pedestrian bridge, water fountains, plazas, recreation spaces, installations and concessions, among other features. 

As a public space separate from the Signature Bridge, with its own identity and needs, this Underdeck website is designed to inform and engage the public, the community and all stakeholders. 

Who's Involved

As plans for the I-395 Signature Bridge solidified in 2019, concerned stakeholders at the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (TSNDC) formed an ad hoc group, the Underdeck Advisory Board, to begin advocacy efforts for the public space beneath the expressway, currently known as “The Underdeck.” TSNDC is a Florida non-profit that was developed in 2011 to advocate for the needs of the area surrounding the Arsht, Museum Park, and American Airlines Arena.

The Underdeck Advisory Board consists of civic leaders, business leaders, philanthropic leaders, adjacent landowners, small business owners, nonprofits, and residents. Over the past three years, they have worked closely with City administration to advocate for state-level funding for this City of Miami project, to contribute to the development of the concept design submitted by the City to FDOT through their community engagement process, and to commit to solutions on this important project. This work unfolded into a formalized role when the City Commission approved a Memorandum of Understanding approving a collaborative planning process requiring heavy engagement and collaboration with all key stakeholders. 

The Underdeck Advisory Board secured a Knight Foundation matching grant in the amount of $200,000 for the purpose of supporting community engagement in the planning and design of the Underdeck. TSNDC agreed to incubate the project for the purpose of receiving and administering the grant proceeds. Effective December 3, 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) was entered into between the City of Miami and TSNDC. The fully executed MOU can be found in the footer in this website. 

The parties intend to work in good faith to develop a mutually agreeable framework for design, implementation, operation, maintenance, programming and management of the Underdeck under a to-be-formed non profit corporation.

TSDNC formed the Underdeck Subcommittee Advisory Group (“USAG”) to promote and engage the community in support of the Underdeck project and to raise the funds to match the Knight Foundation grant and other expenses. The recommendations and deliverables that emerge from the MOU will need to be finalized and transmitted to the City for approval by the City’s governing body (the “City Commission”). Final recommendations are also subject to approval by the USAG Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee is made up of:

  • The Chair of TSNDC or a person designated by such Chair
  • The Chair of the USAG
  • One Designee each from City Commission Districts 1,2 and 5
  • Once Designee from the City of Miami Mayor
  • One Designee from the City Manager
  • USAG Working Group Chairs
  • One Additional representative from each working group selected by their membership.

Working Groups

  • Government, Project Management and Strategic Oversight 
  • Construction, Operations & Maintenance
  • Stakeholder Awareness, Education & Engagement
  • Funding Strategies
  • Traffic, Mobility & Utilities

Government, Project Management and Strategic Oversight 

  • Naming/Branding – Over the last two months community meetings, focus groups, surveys, and interviews have been conducted to gather input from our community. Two engagement and marketing firms, Kivvit and Circle of One have been brought on board to support this process.  A Creative Brief will be developed inclusive of potential names for the Underdeck or Open Space Area.  These potential names will be shared with the community and further input will refine the final recommendations that will be considered by the Underdeck Executive Committee.  The final selected name is subject to the approval of the City Commission.   
  • This group has researched best practices on governance of public spaces and has been reviewing various governance structures nationally and locally.  They are currently working on recommendations that would inform the governance of the public space.  These recommendations will inform future bylaws.

Construction, Operation, Maintenance

  • This group is working closely with the City of Miami and FDOT to ensure that the Heritage Trail, Legacy Walls and other public art components will include stakeholder leadership, participation and input in the exhibits, artists, and content.  This group is also working with the City to identify the appropriate expertise to develop a realistic estimate for the operation and management budget for the long-term sustainability of the public space.  This estimated budget will inform the work  of the fund development working group in the coming months.

Stakeholder Awareness, Education & Engagement

  • This group is responsible for casting the net broadly to create awareness of the project and engage residents in the Underdeck’s development.  A full engagement strategy has been launched and will continue through the summer of 2022.  A monthly newsletter and website will be launched beginning in March, monthly community meetings will be held through the Summer of 2022, and stakeholders will have regular monthly opportunities to inform and engage with the Underdeck Committee Working Groups.

Funding Strategies

  • This group was initially charged with fundraising the match dollars required by the Knight Foundation grant (noted in the approved MOU and City resolution).  All fund-raising goals have been fully met as of December 2021 and are currently funding all planning activities.  The group is now developing a framework for the fund development strategy related to capital, operational and maintenance needs.

Traffic, Mobility & Utilities

  • This group will be convening with all relevant agencies and stakeholders to identify key related challenges and to ensure short-term and long-term cross-sector plans are agreed upon and implemented.

As the Underdeck Project and affiliated Working Groups continue to move forward, the following items represent the most significant recent updates:

  • The Consensus Plan and Governance Membership was shared at last month’s community meeting and approved by Underdeck Executive Committee.
  • City and FDOT have been working on defining the cost “delta” between the consensus plan and the original plan submitted by the JV. This process is delayed.
  • Construction timeframes for the signature bridge are delayed which will impact construction timeframes for the Underdeck
  • MOU between FDOT and the City of Miami will have to be updated to reflect the extended timelines.
  • MOU between the City and TSNDC/Underdeck Committee will have to be updated to align with the FDOT/City of Miami MOU
  • The City Commission will be receiving detailed updates and will discuss before final timelines/approach are finalized
  • We have received additional insights/feedback regarding the Naming process. We will be expanding input gathering including involvement of youth, a broader, more public push, and then will share the anticipated timelines for the finalization of the process.” .

What's Happening Now

Design and Working Group Update – The Concept Design

At the March Community Update, Mary Lydecker of Hargreaves Jones shared the design concept for The Underdeck space.

Consensus Plan
The City of Miami is working closely with FDOT and the Underdeck Committee to achieve a Consensus Plan.  Once the Consensus Plan is achieved, any budget capital differential (delta) will be identified, and a joint funding development strategy will be developed by all parties to be considered by the City Commission.  It is the administration’s intent to provide monthly progress updates to the City Commission until legislative action is brought forward for consideration.

The City of Miami has engaged WSP USA Solutions, Inc. and Hargreaves-Jones to manage and support the development and finalization of the Underdeck’s conceptual layout/design. City/FDOT Underdeck Group meetings/workshops have been held every Monday/Wednesday since December 3, 2021. Currently they, in conjunction with the Office of Capital Improvements, are working on: 

  • Continued coordination with FDOT, Miami-Dade County (“MDC”) and Arsht Center regarding parking options.
  • County Parcel Coordination with MDC regarding parking, traffic flow and street
  • Heritage Trail and Pedestrian Crossing
  • Specialty Features – Water features, Plan Areas, Dog Play Area, Paving Design
  • Amphitheater Lawn & Stage Concept
  • Seatwalls & Site Furniture Concept Designs

The Pathway to Success

Stay Connected

Community engagement is our #1 priority for the Underdeck. There are many ways you can stay informed and be engaged.

Join a Meeting:

Project Updates

Each month, the USAG will have meetings in your Community to give updates on all of the Working Groups. Please join us at our next meetings:

Summer Meetings

– Thursday, August 25th, 6:30 pm
Register in advance for this meeting at the link below:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register

– Wednesday, September 7th, 6:00 pm – 8:00pm, doors open at 5:00 pm
at Overtown Performing Arts Center (OPAC)

Thursday, September 8th, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Location to be announced shortly

Previous Meeting:

NEW! NAMING AND BRANDING SURVEY

Be part of history as a new name is developed for the Underdeck! Complete our survey, available now through August 5, 2022!

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