By: María Alejandra Pulgar, @marialepulgar
DORAL, FL – The grand opening of the long-awaited Doral Glades Park took place on August 2nd. The new crown jewel of the city’s park system was conceived as a natural oasis where residents can enjoy outdoor activities while learning about the habitats that surround Doral.
“We are very excited as everyone else in the city about the new park; it is a park long time in the making”, explained Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez prior to the inauguration.
This facility is unique among the other parks in the city due to its focus on nature and conservation. “It is probably the most environmentally focused park, which is a very good thing. It has the focus on what our area is, our surroundings and how the area was before we became Doral. The exhibit at the Nature Center will be geared towards the history of the area and nature here, and how we got where we are.”
Doral Glades Park is equipped with tennis and basketball courts, playground, lake for kayaking, fishing pier and a beautiful boardwalk around the lake, to observe the wildlife in the area.
It also has a multipurpose room, e-library, projection room, pavilions and shelters that residents can rent for their events, and a carefully curated Nature Center, that showcases the history behind the concept and construction of this recreational space for the community, through interactive exhibits about the Everglades and other South Florida ecosystems.
Finished ahead of time and under budget, Doral Glades Park had an estimated final cost around ten million dollars. The project was executed by CPZ Architects and Pirtle Construction, with environmental compliance consulting support by the firm Miller Legg.
A dream project for the community
Mayor Bermudez has a deep knowledge of the details around the origin of the Glades Park because it goes back to the beginnings of Doral as an independent municipality when he served as Mayor for the first time. Around 2005, Doral had a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County and the developer of the northern areas of the City. The origin of the lawsuit was due to the County granting “the rights to develop too many units in that area”.
“Part of the settlement was the reduction in the number of the units to be built”, and also the owner gave the City 10 acres on the agreement. In addition, the City received an option to purchase 15 additional adjacent acres. That purchase option was executed in 2008 with funds obtained through a grant from the Florida Communities’ Trust (FCT) Florida Forever Program.
The Florida Forever Program has allowed communities over the years to preserve over 770,000 acres of lands all over the State, to use them for recreation and conservation initiatives, like the Doral Glades Park.
Environmental studies were made prior to the purchase of the additional 15 acres of land for the park to ensure the safety for residents and users of the recreation area.
Also during construction, all requirements from the Department of Environmental Management (DERM) were fulfilled successfully in order to complete the project with a safe facility for Doral residents.
Bermudez affirms that one of his goals when he came back to office, was to get this park done and finished. “The beauty of the park is that it was always planned to be a place to encourage ecological features, including conservation, natural recreation and it does have it.”
“It is a park that has been in the works for 13 years; it has been a long time coming but it is really beautiful […] a great, new and different type of park for Doral.”
The exhibit at the nature center is going to be permanent. There visitors will be able to learn how the origins of the park are linked to the origins of the city, and how the proximity to the everglades has given Doral a great part of its uniqueness as a community.
Also, one of the art pieces at the park was made by the residents. “The work of art there that has leaves was a project done with the community. We had to come and help with the piece of art. I went with Vice mayor Mariaca and we learned to blacksmith leaves that will go on the work of art that is going to be in the park” explained Bermudez.
A special place for Doral Veterans
Parks and Recreation is working with the Military Affairs advisory board to create a program at Doral Glades Park especially for the Veterans in the city “to help them with therapy and fishing. At the suggestion of the advisory board, we are working closely with them to have this as a park where veterans can come and benefit from the therapy of fishing and using the recreational areas in this park.”
Florida Statute establishes that a license is required to fish; therefore a valid license will be requested at Doral Glades Park to all users.
However, there are certain exemptions, among them disabled Military veterans or active or reserve duty military participating in a permitted outdoor recreational event. All the rules and regulations for fishing at Doral Glades Park can be reviewed on location or at the City’s website. The address of the park is 7600 NW 98th Pl, Doral, FL 33178
Activities at the park will be administered through Parks and Recreation. For more information on schedules, registration, rentals, hours of operation, and availability of the facilities, residents should check the City of Doral website or contact the Recreation Facility Supervisor directly at the park.