Miami-Dade Commissioners Daniella Levine Cava and Dennis Moss recently hosted the first South Dade Solutions Summit.
Community leaders came together to discuss some of South Dade’s most pressing challenges. The three main topics discussed at the summit were: fueling the South Dade economy, transportation connectivity and parks and the environment. U.S. Department of Transportion Assistant Secretary Carlos Monje was the keynote speaker.
“The goal of the summit was to channel the knowledge and experiences of the South Dade community to implement efficient and effective solutions to some of our region’s challenges. We want to build on the area’s unique assets,” explained Commissioner Levine Cava. “South Dade is a very special part of the county, with its own needs and opportunities.”
In order to encourage creativity and innovation, the summit was structured following a conversation methodology known as World Café.
More than 170 participants discussed the topics in small group sessions and rotated around the room in order to hear different viewpoints as the day continued. Ideas and suggestions shared throughout the summit were consolidated and will form the basis for a South Dade action plan that will be developed by a team comprised of local elected leaders led by Commissioners Levine Cava and Moss.
“The input of the community is going to be key in getting us where we want to go,” Commissioner Moss said. “If you have a plan that the community buys into, when resources come available, you have a plan to funnel those resources into.”
U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo introduced Assistant Secretary Monje, who spoke about the uniqueness of the summit, explaining that he had “never seen anything quite like it…this is truly community organizing at its best.”
Monje spoke about the resources and support available at the federal level, including TIGER and New Start/Small Start grants.
“There are lots of different ways the federal government can help,” he said. “It takes a lot of leadership at the local level, and hopefully we’ll be there with the funding when a plan is ready.”
Commissioner Levine Cava and Commissioner Moss presented Assistant Secretary Monje with the Key to Miami- Dade County.
“I would like to thank Assistant Secretary Monje for coming to South Dade and speaking to our community about how we can work with the federal government on our transit issues,” Commissioner Levine Cava said. “It is imperative that we use all the resources available to us so that we can bring real solutions to the gridlock experienced by so many South Dade residents.
“I would also like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Miami Foundation for sponsoring the summit, Catalyst Miami for facilitating and the Economic Development Council for partnering with us on this community dialogue.”
The ideas discussed at the summit will be converted into strategies with a timeline of expected goals and outcomes for the short and long term. Updates will be available through the offices of Commissioner Levine Cava and Commissioner Moss.