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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Winners chosen for Public Space Challenge

The winners
The Miami Foundation announced the top winners in their Our Miami Public Space Challenge. Fifteen ideas for improving, creating and activating local public spaces will share $120,000 in funding. The announcement was made to hundreds of young, engaged Miamians at the contest’s Wrap Party hosted at The Stage Miami last week. 

The challenge is part of the Foundation’s ongoing Our Miami initiative, an effort to build a stronger sense of community and retain talented people in Miami by improving livability.

From July 31 to September 19, residents, advocacy groups and organizations submitted more than 250 ideas at ideas.ourmiami.org. A panel of community experts and professional placemakers selected top submissions based on their compelling nature, economic feasibility, relevance to the surrounding area and above all, community impact.

“The explosion of energy Miamians created around the challenge was tremendous,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.  “Each visionary idea added to the spark – a spark we hope will fuel a permanent community-wide focus on improving public spaces.”

Eleven projects will be funded by $100,000 from The Miami Foundation. Health Foundation of South Florida will invest an additional $20,000 to $30,000 in the challenge to fund four ideas promoting healthy, physical exercise activities and access to fresh food through gardens and farmer’s markets. Both organizations will work with winners to execute their projects.

Selected ideas include:
· Creating artistic wooden benches and hand-painted flower pots filled with tropical plants in Little Havana, celebrating their burgeoning arts community. (Idea from Ileana Collazo)
· Install a shade covering over the outdoor fitness zone at Liberty City's Gwen Cherry Park to protect park-going residents from the South Florida heat and rain. (Idea from Gwen Cherry Park Foundation)
· Transform an empty Downtown Dadeland lot next to the M-Path into a new public green space for Miamians to walk their dogs and engage with neighbors. (Idea from Eric Katz)

All participants were invited to sign up with challenge partner ioby (in our backyard), a powerful online crowd-resourcing platform that drives public financial support for neighborhood projects.  Funded projects will also require volunteer support, providing opportunities for challenge participants to engage in the project’s next phase.

“This challenge is a community-wide achievement,” said Stuart Kennedy, the Foundation’s programs officer coordinating the Our Miami initiative. “By connecting challenge contributors to ioby and other resources, we could see many more ideas crystallize in the coming weeks.  Together, we’re making Miami a more open, attractive, healthier and engaged place to live.”

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