Over the summer, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber proposed a “reimagining” of the City’s South Beach Entertainment District as an Arts and Culture District with a program that includes “carrots and sticks” – incentives and regulations to rein in out-of-control behavior and bad business practices. He has urged bold action after previous efforts have failed to change the dynamic. Since then, Commissioners have held a full-day workshop and several committee hearings. While there is consensus that “something needs to be done,” agreement on the what and how remains elusive.
After deferring discussion on noise and sidewalk café ordinances at the November Commission meeting, the area experienced a weekend of violence that included a fatal stabbing, retaliation shooting, and armed robbery of a legally blind man leading Gelber to call a special Commission meeting for Friday to further discuss short- and long-term solutions.
Gelber addressed the problems in a pre-Thanksgiving video message:
“I want to take a moment to talk about South Beach. What has been known as our Entertainment District needs a serious overhaul which is why a few months ago we started the process of reimagining the entertainment district, in fact, as an Art Deco Cultural District. It is certainly the time to do so, as recently we have seen the kinds of excesses that have no place in our community. We’ve generated dozens of ideas, major changes in policing and code enforcement, and initiatives and ordinances that will encourage a different experience in this area, including pedestrianizing Ocean Drive. On December 4th I’m convening a Special Commission Meeting to go over these ideas and make sure we are on track. You can watch it online on our City website and if you would like updates please email me. But we’ve also asked our City police and code enforcement officers to redouble their efforts to make sure that laws are being followed and businesses are abiding by our code of conduct. Over the next few weeks, expect vigorous presence of police and code officers in this district. And in the months that follow, much change is coming. It needs to.”
Special City Commission Meeting
Topic: Entertainment District
Friday, December 4, 9:00 am