Seven mayors dedicated to representing South Florida communities united with hundreds of business and communities leaders when the City of Sunny Isles Beach hosted the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce June breakfast meeting at the luxurious Trump International Beach Resort.
Award-winning journalist Brian Andrews, an acclaimed CBS4 News reporter, and now CEO of The News Directors, specializing in communications, crisis management and government/public affairs strategies, served as emcee for the mayoral panel featuring: Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman; Bal Harbour Village Mayor Gabriel Groisman; Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy; Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III; Miami Shores Mayor Mac Glinn; Sunny Isles Beach Mayor George “Bud” Scholl; and Virginia Gardens Mayor Fred Spencer Deno IV.
AMC Chair Gary Pyott of Association 1st welcomed guests gathered to “meet the mayors” as appreciation was expressed to Sunny Isles Beach leaders: Mayor George “Bud” Scholl, Vice Mayor Dana Goldman, Commissioner Jeanette Gatto, Commissioner Larisa Svechin, Commissioner Isaac Aelion, City Manager Christopher Russo, Assistant City Manager Susan Simpson, City Attorney Hans Ottinot, City Clerk Maurico Betancur, and incoming Police Chief Dwight Snyder, taking over for retiring Police Chief Fred Maas, who was recently inducted into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame. Former Mayor Norman Edelcup and former Vice Mayor Lewis Thaler were also recognized for years of dedicated service.
Andrews helped the mayors field questions posed by AMC members regarding economic development, tourism, transportation, beach renourishment, capital improvement and other progressive initiatives. During a “lightning round” the mayors also shared great headline news about city happenings especially beneficial to the business community.
Sunny Isles Beach Mayor George “Bud Scholl: “Collins Avenue is finally getting repaved!” Undergrounding of street lights and power lines will soon be completed, plus four more towers are on the rise. “We’ve been blessed with great developers and our businesses are thriving.
Along Collins, we’re looking at synchronizing traffic lights to help balance traffic flow; and building intersection pedestrian bridges. Sunny Isles Beach has a very robust cultural program and provides great amenities for all residents and international tourists to enjoy.”
Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman: “The best thing happening in Aventura is we’re building a high school that will welcome 800 students, grades 9-12.” For road warriors, good news is, “To help improve traffic congestion, plans are being considered to provide parking spaces at Aventura Mall for commuters, who would then be shuttled to a Northeast Dade rail platform, so we can get more cars off the streets.”
Bal Harbour Village Mayor Gabriel Groisman: “The beach is one of our biggest assets. By joining forces with neighboring cities, we can push for a comprehensive beach renourishment plan as one united community and come up with a game plan that makes sense for all of us. If we’re on the same team, we’ll have a beautiful beach.” Shopaholics were also happy to learn Bal Harbour Shops is expanding with 30 more restaurants and stores including Barneys New York. The Village is also being enhanced by the opulent new Oceana Bal Harbour residential tower, and a new park complementing the only outdoor beach art exhibition permanently installed in Miami-Dade.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III: “The Super Bowl is coming to Miami Gardens in 2020!” Beyond hosting events benefiting surrounding communities, Miami Gardens has initiated comprehensive infrastructure improvements and simplified the permitting and building process to attract new businesses and enable them to open faster. Home to the first Topgolf and Waffle House in South Florida, Miami Gardens has doubled the number of permits issued every year for the past five years and now has a very high home ownership rate. Mayor Gilbert also shared a favorite way to describe Miami Gardens: “Opportunity Zone.”
Miami Shores Mayor Mac Glinn: “The big deal for us right now is downtown redevelopment.” Miami Shores has focused on improvements along Northeast 2nd Avenue, serving to transform and revitalize the business district. For commuting ease, residents and especially Barry University students appreciate that Lime Bikes are now available. The Lime Bike’s app creates a seamless process, making it easy to unlock a bike and ride it to class, a Metrorail stop, run errands or just for some great exercise.
Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy: “There’s a whole realm of opportunity in Hollywood! Amended land regulations are encouraging redevelopment and real estate investment, while improvements to State Road 7 and Federal Highway are facilitating business growth and pedestrian mobility. Hollywood is famous for our beaches, boardwalk, historic downtown district, Art Park and amphitheatre featuring great entertainment and cultural attractions. Another milestone is the debut of CIRC residences and the CIRC Hotel, the first new resort to open in downtown Hollywood in over 40 years, highlighting an era of renaissance and revitalization.”
Virginia Gardens Mayor Fred Spencer Deno IV: “We are very business friendly!” Virginia Gardens is home to the headquarters of Boeing Training & Flight Services, Grupo Televisa, the largest mass media company in the Spanish-speaking world, Candlewood Suites Hotel and a new DoubleTree by Hilton coming soon. Located just north of Miami International Airport, Virginia Gardens is seeking to expand its boundaries along with new business opportunities. Originally part of Miami Springs, the municipality was established after horses were banned in 1947 and founders broke off to form Virginia Gardens. Today, modern advancements include upgrading the lighting system at the municipal ballpark with LED lighting, reducing costs by 40 percent.
Summing up the sentiments of the mayors, Andrews said, “Make sure that as a resident or business owner, you are civically engaged. Go to a city commission meeting, get on a committee, and stay aware of what’s on the agenda in your community.”
For more information about the City of Sunny Isles Beach, visit Sibfl.net