$1 Million Project to Give Makeover to Calle Ocho - NBC 6 South Florida
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$1 Million Project to Give Makeover to Calle Ocho

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    The heart of Miami's Cuban-American neighborhood is about to get a makeover. Calle Ocho needs some polish and people who live and work there say it's about time. (Published Thursday, March 17, 2016)

    The heart of Miami's Cuban-American neighborhood is about to get a makeover.

    Calle Ocho needs some polish and people who live and work there say it's about time.

    El Parke Del Domino, which means Domino Park in English, is the hub of Little Havana. Much of the area has already been renovated but more renovations are on the way.

    Over the years Little Havana has become a hotbed of tourism, one of the most popular in Miami, with busloads of people taking in the Cuban culture.

    At a news conference Thursday, Miami mayor Tomas Regalado said now is the time to make the street shine.

    New planters and trees will line a stretch of Southwest 8th Street from 4th to 27th avenues. Sidewalks will be widened.

    The roosters, a symbol of the Cuban culture, have already been spruced up. Artist Eva Ruiz did that.

    "They got repainted and they got new looks," Ruiz said.

    Even the garbage cans are getting a fresh look, painted with vibrant colors, offering a Cuban flair. Noted Cuban-American artist Ninoska Perez did a few.

    "I'm so excited because it's one way to get our art to millions of places where every tourists come and they take pictures and you'll see them on social media," Perez said.

    Transforming Southwest 15th Avenue into a pedestrian-friendly plaza is the most ambitious part of the upgrade, creating a larger gathering place for celebrations and conversations.

    "I really think it's important to look at what's happening in other parts of Little Havana in terms of transportation, pedestrian safety, beautification and things like that as well," resident Corinna Moebius said.

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