Coral Gables streetscape project has a bumpy start

Streetscape construction work on Miracle Mile in downtown Coral Gables
Streetscape construction work on Miracle Mile in downtown Coral Gables

A $21 million streetscape project on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables had a bumpy start after the departure of the project manager and unexpected drainage problems due to heavy rain.

But assistant city manager Peter Iglesias told the Miami Herald “we’re working to keep things going on time.”

The project, scheduled for completion by late 2017, will widen sidewalks, replace trees and streetlights, and substitute parallel parking spaces for the existing angled parking space on Miracle Mile.

The project also will redesign a section of Giralda Avenue to limit its automotive traffic and cater to pedestrians.

The former project manager departed Ric-Man International, the construction manager, soon after the streetscape project started last month. Ric-Man International has hired a new manager for the project.

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“Once the new project manager gets his sea legs on the project, I’ll have a better idea of where we’re at,” Iglesias  told the Herald.

Merchants along Miracle Mile generally favor the streetscape project but worry about its impact on their business.

Rick Alberty, general manager of a salon called The Well-Groomed Gentleman, told the Herald he supports the streetscape project but the progress has been slow.

Jeffrey Wolfe of Wolfe’s Wine Shop told the Miami Herald the long-term result of the streetscape project will be positive, but in the short term, some merchants may move away from Miracle Mile.

Wolfe told the newspaper that sales at his Coral Gables store, which has been located on Miracle Mile for about 16 years, have declined by approximately half in the past month. [Miami Herald]  Mike Seemuth