Coming into 2015, SOMI is seeing new restaurants and businesses open and while we still have vacancies in some locations, other businesses are moving forward.  New and re-investment in our retail/restaurant district are encouraging signs as SOMI continues to be a choice destination for the cognoscenti.  Look at the stunning modern office building now nearly complete on US 1.  What an iconic landmark for our community!

While the rest of the country wrestles with the Blizzard of 2015, we get to enjoy our great outdoors and many of the community events that are hosted on our “main street.”   Upcoming in early February is the VOLKSblast on Sunset Drive.  Get to check out all the old VW buses, the Karmann Ghias and much more.  And on the last weekend in February is the annual South Miami Rotary Art Festival which draws thousands to our community.  To make your Friday evening stroll through town even more enjoyable, take in the remaining SOMIartwalk©©evenings held on the second Friday of February and March.

In this issue we are inaugurating a new series exploring the awesome cultural resources which are directly accessible to our readers (and many by bike or Metro).  SOMI Magazine published a six-part series on occasion of the 75h Anniversary of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens (see somimag.loc, June/July 2013 through February/March 2014). However, we quickly return to Fairchild to kick-off this new community cultural resources feature for the Dale Chihuly exhibition. What a great start!  Over the course of many issues, SOMI Magazine will be goint to the Perez Art Museum, History Miami, The Kampong, The Barnacle, ZOO Miami and many more spectacular places to visit and support.  In this issue also, we have Part Two of the Rum October/November 2014 cover feature, Caribbean Rum: Exploring the Islands, with the author taking us to places near and far to imbibe in this tropical sugar cane libation.

And other things happening in and around town…
The City of South Miami has now completed the process of doing an Intermodal Transportation Plan.  It has been a year-long process and the report is now out.  I had the pleasure of attending some of the community meetings and activities, and as a commuter cyclist and founder of Bike Miami (1983) I find the report is very “right on” when it comes to improving and enhancing bicycle and pedestrian facilities in South Miami.  After beating the drum for some ten years to improve pedestrian safety crossing Red Road at 73 Street, I’m pleased to report that a landscaped pedestrian median is formally part of this operational plan.  A big “thank you!” to the city administration and leadership.

Another development in town will impact the community for years to come: Simon Properties is divesting itself of The Shops at Sunset Place, a poorly performing property in their portfolio.  The new investor should come ready to re-invest mightily in the property.  And you’ve heard it from me before: build an 8-story hotel on the corner of US1 & Red Road and wrap a 6-story apartment complex along Red Road to San Remo.  This would go a long way to create a dynamic flow in our retail/restaurant district.  It’s a re-investment with a good R.O.I. for the investor and the community for years to come.

Let’s hear from you.  You’re invited to join us online: the magazine can be sent to friends far and wide by logging on to www.somimag.loc.  And while you’re at it, give us a “thumbs up” on Facebook.  Become part of the conversation in your hometown, where you work, shop, live and play.

See you at The Irish Times for the annual gathering of the clan on March 17th.  And with that, let me close with a traditional Irish toast:  “In this new year, may your right hand be stretched out in friendship and never in want.”

All the best these months as we continue to enjoy our great South Florida weather.



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