When the Cutler Bay Business Association (CBBA) had its monthly meeting on June 12, there was a presentation by town manager Rafael G. Casals and Mayor Ed MacDougall updating members on the town’s Strategic Master Plan (SMP) for the next five years.
With the town hosting the group’s meeting for the third time in its new location, the penthouse level of Town Hall on Caribbean Boulevard, the setting was appropriate for a presentation that was part of the public workshop series being conducted in the month of June.
Town officials and staff currently are seeking feedback from residents as they work to update Cutler Bay’s Strategic Master Plan, a document that sets goals for the town and the actions needed to achieve them. The original SMP was adopted by the town council in October 2006.
Casals’ presentation focused on achievements and goals. Goal No. 1 is having a resident friendly and responsive town government. Goal No. 2 is financial stability and sustainability, both short term and long term. Goal No. 3 deals with growth management and infrastructure needs, while Goal No. 4 is to improve economic and business development. Goal No. 5 is to develop and sustain community identity, unity and pride. Goals 6-9 deal with, respectively, public safety, parks and recreation, codes and code enforcement, and public works.
Merrett Stierheim, who is the consultant and facilitator for the Strategic Master Plan, also was expected to help make the presentation but he had a scheduling conflict and was unable to attend.
“Merret Stierheim has been our moderator for the workshops,” Rafael Casals said. “He did it back in 2006, so he originated the strategic master plan and developed it then. We’ve had three workshop meetings so far. This meeting today was not on our schedule, but we did this for the CBBA and it’s one of the well-attended meetings. After the final workshop on June 19 we’re going to incorporate all of the information we’re getting from the residents and present that to the council.”
After the presentation both Casals and Mayor MacDougall answered questions from the CBBA members.
Resident Wendy Kirby asked if the “train” (Metrorail) could be extended south, then added, perhaps jokingly, “hopefully all the way to Key West.”
“The Metrorail is not going all the way south to Homestead because the population density is
not there to support it,” Casals explained. “We need at least 50,000 riders per day for Metrorail.” Carlos Vazquez, an assistant vice president of Sunstate Bank, asked about the current status of the area on Old Cutler Road known as the potato field and the Publix Supermarket development. Casals told him that although the developer had, after an initial rejection by the council, submitted a new site plan that included the features the town had asked for, the project now was on hold because two of the developers involved in the project were involved in court action directed at each other.
Mayor MacDougall took the microphone to address what he considers a key issue for Cutler Bay and other municipalities within Miami-Dade County. He said that while there was a time when county government was needed to provide wideranging services for people, local government had proven advantages.
“Incorporation does work,” MacDougall said. “There are cities that want to annex other areas. There are people in Kendall that want to form a city. The county needs to unchain us, because small government works.”
At the conclusion of the meeting those attending “voted” on their top priorities among the topics that had been written down during the question and answer session.
For information on the Strategic Master Plan call Town Hall at 305-234-4262 or send an email to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.