Connecting with nature and with neighbors in downtown Miami Shores

Plaza 98 transformed a short strip of ordinary road right off Miami Shores’ main drag into a happening place where neighbors can gather, talk, play, learn, dance, eat and more, and endangered native butterflies and plants can find sanctuary.  It involved a whole lot of planning and a lot of grease from numerous neighborly elbows, and it all came together on Saturday night.  

It is hard to imagine what is about to unfold on 98th Street.
A clever and artistic resident came up with a design of two rows of stylized pineapples, a salute to our historic past when pineapple plantations were more abundant than cars. The design had to be approved by the county, and laid out in stencils by volunteers.

Other residents of all ages and sizes showed up and, armed with brushes and rollers, filled in the shapes with bright colors.



A smattering of local artists, hanging out and having fun!
Rows of stylized pineapples planted in paint.  This project was completed in record time, thanks to all the volunteers who showed up to help.

Besides the painting, tasks included furniture assembly and planter preparation.

One of the crack teams of volunteer DIYers that helped turn wooden pallets and plywood into benches.
Preparing the planters required attaching wheels and drilling holes. Who knew that Councilwoman Burch was so handy with tools?










With the road painted, furniture assembled, and planters prepared, Bound by Beauty stepped in with a team of volunteers to fill the planters with beautiful native plants, several of which are threatened or endangered in the wild.  

We began by filling the bottom with aluminum cans and styrofoam pellets, which allow for drainage without adding to the cost or the weight. When you don’t recycle, upcycle!
Potting soil was added next.
Volunteers helped place the primarily native plants in the planters.  Here we have non-native Giant milkweed and native porterweed, which will soon be sending little purple flowers skyward to entice passing pollinators.
The plant in the background is coontie. Bound by Beauty will soon be publishing a very special report on this plant, and the treasures it enfolds.  
Those handy wheels enabled us to push the very heavy planters into place. In the future, the wheels will give flexibility as to how the planters will be used when the plaza is closed once a month to traffic.
Last but not least, we had help watering the plants. Although drought tolerant when established, they need watering every day for a couple of weeks until they show signs of new growth.  In this planter we put coreopsis and red tropical sage.

So much for the preparations!  Now it’s party time in the Shores!

There was music by the Hoy Polloy.
And activities for kids.
Patting dogs was the most popular activity for some kids!
Miami Shores’ very own Lucio’s was on hand with delicious libations and food.
Neighbors happy to mug for the camera.
When is the last time so many people gathered in downtown Miami Shores? Plaza 98 is breathing new life into our village.

Thank you to all who came out to work and party with your neighbors.  Stay tuned for more information on Plaza 98 on the second Saturday in December, when Christmas will be in the air.  


















































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