Walk for the health of it reveals some of city’s chronic issues

Cutler Bay is named country’s 7th Fastest Growing Suburb

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While most people across town were prepping their wings, chips, and six-layer dips for the second busiest feasting day of the year – Super Bowl Sunday – some of us were actually out expending calories, at ChamberSOUTH’s inaugural “Walk In To Wellness.” More than 100 fitness-focused families and folks made it a team effort to follow the healthy trek through The Shops at Sunset Place, checking in at dozens of wellness and fitness booths. Well, to be honest, the amazing give-aways and prizes might also have played a part in their decision to attend, but it’s all good. In fact, Allison Polk led the pack by winning the top prize, a $250 shopping spree at the Shops at Sunset Place.

ChamberSOUTH was grateful that so many local merchants and businesses came out in support of the event, including Pilates in the Grove for raffling off a $100 gift certificate, Aloft Miami Dadeland for donating a one-night stay, and Elements Massage for their gift of a 60-minute massage – along with Buffalo Wild Wings, You Matter Care Services, Dr. Rhoda with Miami Holistic Care, Just Om Yoga Studio, Main Street Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, Hurley Health Foundation, AMC theaters, Palmetto Bay Events, Paddle South Florida, 1st Love Fitness, City of South Miami, The Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation, Baptist South Miami Hospital, Quality Life Solutions, GameTime, Suncoast Medical, WomenHeart, StretchZone, New Leaf Chiropractic, and Arbonne.

Hats off to ChamberSOUTH for hosting the first-ever wellness walk and to Grass River Management for making this amazing space available to the Chamber and to the people of South Miami who really enjoyed this event.

But before dropping by Sunset Place, I actually started my morning out with breakfast at CasaCuba and a jaunt down Sunset Drive from US1 east to SW 57th Ave. – and my oh my there were lots of empty stores on both sides of the strip. I couldn’t bear to count past 12, but there were more.

Too often people ask “What’s going on?” And I simply can’t give them a solid and defensible answer. But I do point out that the tide rises and falls, and that the sun comes up morning and sets at night. And folks, I gotta tell ya, at this point it looks like the sun has set on Sunset Drive.

BUT – and that’s a really big BUT – when the Shops at Sunset gets the go ahead with their massive rebuilding and rebranding effort, that’s when the sun should begin to rise again on Sunset, and the city of South Miami. Until then, I certainly do hope that lots of new investors will consider taking a chance by investing in the prospect of making South Miami “great again.”

By the way, I regret to share that Carrabba’s Italian Grill on SW 73 Street is shutting down, joining the ranks of the many retail stores and restaurants that used to call “The City of Pleasant Living” their home.

But there is some pleasant news on the horizon: the new building at 5966 South Dixie Highway is finally getting occupied and from what I’ve been told, some fitness professionals will before too long be opening some personal training enterprises of sorts in this big beautiful building.

And then right next store, where the New Chinatown restaurant was located for many years, there’s a rather unique two-story mixed-use structure going up that will be home to a retail store and a couple new restaurants. Two restaurant leases have been signed, one for a family-style eatery called “American Harvest” and the other for “Sliderz,” a concept created by South Florida’s own Buzzy Sklar, where they take all the sandwiches everyone loves and make them slidersized. We should begin to see people sliding into these two new joints by late summer.

The old saying, “time flies when you’re having fun” couldn’t be truer – considering the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition is celebrating its 66th anniversary this year. And apparently the fun will continue, as North American Midway Entertainment, the provider of the rides, food, and games, just received an extension of its contract through 2020. (See the full story inside this edition of South Miami News).

This year’s fair will run March 23 through April 16, with two weekend closings, so check their website for details at fairexpo.com or call 305-223-7060. So congratulations to the team for all your hard work and dedication to this community. Lots of family fun memories were forged there over the years… Let’s go make some more!

Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669-7355, ext. 249, or send emails to Michael@communitynewspapers.com.

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