October 15, 2021 by John Fernandez
South Miami Hospital Hosts The Underline (VIDEO)
Walk, bike and take transit to better health – in Miami! That’s the vision of a not-for-profit organization seeking to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile linear park, urban trail and art destination.
Endorsed by Baptist Health South Florida for its vision of encouraging healthy lifestyles for more Miami-Dade County residents, Friends of The Underline plans to provide a safer, more connected, mobile and engaged community. The plan calls for enhancing the 100-foot wide corridor that stretches from the Miami River to Dadeland South with pedestrian and bicycle trails, architectural landscaping and parks.
“Bettering the community’s health has always been part of Baptist Health’s mission,” said Lincoln Mendez, chief executive officer of South Miami Hospital, a Baptist Health hospital located at U.S. 1 and SW 62 Avenue. “We are excited to take part in a project that has the same vision.”
One park area planned along the proposed urban trail is The Underline’s Healing Garden at South Miami Hospital. The proposed green space will be located adjacent to U.S. 1 near the hospital’s East Tower building.
According to Reggie Laroche, director of community development at South Miami Hospital, the Healing Garden is intended to provide a tranquil, peaceful area for people to relax, rest and reflect.
Overall, The Underline master plan outlines the design of about 100 acres of beautiful, accessible open space for area residents and visitors.
“Our role is to develop design criteria that provides a unified vision for the entire corridor, while recognizing the unique natural and ecological qualities you see along the path,” said Roberto Rovira, an associate professor of landscape architecture and environmental and urban design at Florida International University who is chairing The Underline’s Design Advisory Committee. “We want to make sure it creates a destination in itself, taking into account how this corridor will change everything around it.”
The Underline’s vision of helping enhance the health and wellness of people who live, work and visit in the Miami area is key to Baptist Health’s endorsement of the initiative.
“We commend all of the individuals and organizations involved in this creative project that spotlights the need and value of improving people’s activity and mobility, and are proud to be represented among the Friends of The Underline,” said Jessi Berrin, director of government and community relations at Baptist Health, and co-chair of The Underline Health Advisory Committee.
Helping to increase awareness of The Underline initiative, South Miami Hospital is hosting interactive exhibits and activities throughout February. The public can stop by the hospital’s main entrance lobby and learn about the many things that can be done along the future Underline. Visitors are encouraged to take “selfies” in front of the colorful renderings and share the pictures on social media.
The month-long exhibit will culminate with a community education program featuring a panel of health and wellness experts.
The Baptist Health South Florida News Team visited the exhibit to learn more about the project. Watch the video now!
Upcoming events at South Miami Hospital:
Friday, Feb. 12, 12 noon – 2 p.m.
Make Some Energy
Ride The Underline energy bike to power an iPod and make some music, demonstrating the fun of bike riding along The Underline’s future urban trail.
Friday, Feb. 26, 12 noon – 2 p.m.
Richard Sherman, yoga instructor, will demonstrate types of yoga programs planned to take place throughout The Underline’s 10-mile corridor.
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
South Miami Hospital Victor E. Clarke Education Center
Panel Discussion: Walk, Bike, Take Transit to Better Health
Panelists Theodore Feldman, M.D., medical director of the Center for Prevention and Wellness at Baptist Health South Florida; Alice Bravo, transportation director, Miami-Dade County; Maria Nardi, recreation and open spaces planning chief, Miami-Dade County Parks; and Meg Daly, founder, Friends of The Underline, will discuss recent research that shows walking, biking and taking public transportation helps fight obesity and other health risks. Seating is limited. Please register online at http://bit.ly/1JN3RKJ.
Parking is available in the visitor’s garage adjacent to the hospital’s main entrance.