Miami Beach

Miami Beach Mayor Presents Plan to Transform Entertainment District

In the meantime, Miami-Dade County officials met with Miami Beach residents to address the recent chaos on South Beach

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Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber presented his plan to transform the city's entertainment district into an Art Deco cultural district, which includes enhanced policing, code enforcement and a 2 a.m. last call for alcohol sales.

In a video, Gelber introduced the 12-point plan for a district transformation he has been pushing for since taking office in 2017.

"We need to begin this change, and it must be done boldly and not incrementally," he said.

In the plan, establishments in the entertainment district cannot sell alcohol past 2 a.m., and only establishments with sufficient security and good records of compliance could apply for a late-night nightclub license. The last call could be extended to establishments nearby "to avoid migration of these challenges to other parts of our City." The current last call time is 5 a.m.

Gelber also emphasized the need for enhanced policing and a specialized code enforcement unit for South Beach.

"They should know all the local proprietors so that they can make clear what the rules of the road are," the plan read.

Click here to read the Art Deco Cultural District 12-point plan.

Miami-Dade County leaders met with Miami Beach residents over controlling crowds and conduct. NBC 6's Steve Litz reports

Meanwhile, several members of the Miami-Dade County’s Community Relations Board met with Miami Beach residents Tuesday in an effort to stem the rowdy crowds and violence on South Beach.

“It is not about the crowd, it is about the conduct,” said one resident.

“Far too many of us are pointing fingers, rather than saying how can we do this with all of our hands,” said another.

The county billed the meeting on Ocean Drive as a "listening session," an opportunity for the board to gather ideas, possibly leading to a calmer South Beach.

The two peak weekends in March resulted in massive crowds, bad behavior and violence spilling into the streets. Hundreds of people were arrested.

CRB member Ervins Ford, who is Black, chairs the panel’s Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Committee. He addressed the issue of race.

The mayhem on Miami Beach brought up concerns whether some spring breakers were being targeted because of their race. NBC 6's Ari Odzer reports

“Don’t see me as a sellout, don’t call me an Uncle Tom simply because it is what it is,” he said. “You have our people out here behaving in a fashion that is just embarrassing," Ford said.

Some residents blame the city for not having a plan in place despite knowing what spring break and other high impact weekends bring.

“When it is 20 years, ongoing, getting worse in violence and longer in duration every year, then it is a city leader issue,” said South Beach resident Tania Dean.

Possible solutions to soothe South Beach included more video surveillance, stricter curfews and more police on the streets. The CRB will consider those ideas and possibly make recommendations to the County Commission, which could take action or craft policy in addressing high impact weekends on South Beach.

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