MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A new linear park in Miami-Dade County is getting closer to becoming a reality.
"It's something we don't have in Miami-Dade County. It's something that enhances the green areas," Miami-Dade Commissioner Rebeca Sosa said.
It's been a seven-year mission for Sosa, who has been a longtime supporter and advocate for Ludlam Trails.
"People are going to be able to walk, to ride bikes. We're gonna have solar lights," she said.
On Friday, Miami-Dade commissioners approved the $25 million purchase of the nearly 6-mile-long abandoned railway from just outside Miami International Airport, south to the Dadeland Mall area.
The goal is to create a linear park, or a biking and hiking trail.
The renderings show what the commissioner, cyclist and park enthusiast envisions as a multiconnected neighborhood pathway for residents from various communities to commute on foot and an attractive opportunity for local restaurants and businesses.
Workers will break ground as early as next month. The county has used Atlanta's Belt Line for inspiration.
At intersections, there will be an overpass for walkers or cyclists.
"You will be able to walk and you won't have to stop from Seventh Street up to Dadeland," Sosa said.
The already-popular cyclist pathway was fenced off by Miami-Dade County after it was tested for soil contamination. There isn't a set date for when the trail will officially open.
"We have it already protected to make sure any environmental problem will be taken care of before anything starts," Sosa said.
The goal is for the trail to be completed in phases and to connect with the underline, another envisioned linear park that will run below the Metrorail from Brickell to Dadeland, to create "The Miami Loop."
"Then you're gonna have cafeterias, restrooms, places for the family to go sit down, enjoy and go back home," Sosa said.