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The Underline Plans To Transform Miami's Vacant Land Under Metrorail Into 10-Mile Park

When Meg Daly broke both her arms in an accident four years ago, she put her car keys away and started using the Miami Metrorail. She quickly noticed how much space was not being utilized under the elevated train tracks and from there an idea was born. Daly founded Friends of The Underline with the goal to reinvent the 10-mile unoccupied space under the Miami Metrorail from Brickell to Dadeland into a linear park, world class urban trail, and living art destination the local community can enjoy.

With plans to break ground in Spring 2018, the project is expected to cost about $110 to $120 million to design and implement through funding from both private investors and government grants. The City of Miami committed $50 million to build it in late 2016, and the rest of the money is still currently being fundraised. Set to be built in phases and development, the Underline will begin in Brickell, a dense area that will hopefully boost demand and bring more attention to the project.

Miami isn't the first city to find new ways to reuse vacant urban areas.

If this project sounds familiar, it's probably because there seems to be a growing trend in urban areas to revitalize unused land to create green spaces for communities to use. The city of Detroit recently purchased 26 acres of railroad land to create a new green space called the Inner Circle Greenway. There's also the eight-mile Cultural Trail in Indianapolis, the 22-mile loop in Georgia known as the Atlanta Beltline, and the three-mile long elevated trail in Chicago dubbed the Chicago 606.

The most well known revitalized property in recent history is New York's High Line, an elevated public park built on an abandoned freight rail line in Manhattan’s West Side. New York City-based firm James Corner Field Operations not only helped design The High Line but is designing The Underline as well. 

The project focuses on bringing the community together and building the park sustainably.

Once it's completed, the park will be about 100 acres and offer a range of benefits for the community including an outdoor yoga space, a basketball court, a performance stage, a bike parking garage, communal tables, gaming tables, and native vegetation. The park will also be well-connected to current transit networks so it's easily accessible for residents. Keeping in mind the high crime statistics in Miami, the developers want residents to feel safe and are addressing the need for more lighting, amenities, and wider crosswalks as they plan the park out.

To keep things eco-friendly they're only using sustainable materials during the building process by collaborating with different local South Florida groups to meet sustainable goals. One of their partners, Fairchild Botanical Gardens, will provide many of the plants and the path of the park will be lined with 1,000 native orchids.

Once the project breaks ground next spring The Underline should wrap up by 2020 as it's the fastest moving project of its size compared to similar projects in the country. The group has already raised 60 million dollars towards their goal but if you want to help the project move along faster, you can donate to the cause at www.theunderline.org. Have a stellar idea for the project? Reach out to info@theunderline.org to get involved. 

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