In 2012, as I walked door to door in Doral, many residents voiced concerns regarding the need for additional parks and recreational facilities to serve our City’s diverse and thriving community. The one request that I heard more than any other had to do with the need for an Olympic-size swimming pool aquatics facility. Residents felt then, as they still do now, that Doral’s children need a public facility where they can learn how to swim. In addition, our community’s competitive swimmers have been using another municipality’s pool, and they need a place to call home. Residents also want an aquatics facility with amenities not offered within their own complexes. As a result, I decided that supporting funding for well-planned, sustainable, state of the art, parks and recreation areas, as well as a dedicated aquatics facility, would be one of my top priorities while serving on the Council.
Given this priority, one of my first tasks when I took office in 2012 was to review the 2009 Parks Master Plan, and place the top priorities established by our residents first on my agenda. The study conducted in 2009 showed that the top requests from our residents in order of priority were: an outdoor/indoor swimming pools and/or waterpark, nature centers/trails, indoor fitness/exercise facilities, paved walking/biking trails, small neighborhood parks, and off-leash dog parks. It was obvious that much was left to be done.
Doral Legacy Park- NW 114th Avenue and 82nd Street
The two pieces of land for Legacy Park had been purchased in 2008 and 2010, however, NO funding had been assigned to the development of this space, and additionally, the original design plans did not address any of the needs identified by our residents. Since 2012, funding for design and construction of the 18-acre, $23M Legacy Park was prioritized by the Council. Although we faced delays because of soil contamination that had never been identified during the land-purchasing process, Legacy Park will be opened to the public in November 2016. It includes Doral’s first, 35,000 sq. ft. community center with an indoor basketball gymnasium and exercise track, a 200-seat community room, a senior room, an arts and craft room, a recreational room, an aerobics/dance room, a multi-purpose room, and a conference room. The park’s exterior spaces include Football/Soccer Artificial Turf Fields, shaded pavilions, a softball field, a splash pad, tennis courts, an outdoor movie area, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, and walking/running pads.
Doral Glades Park- NW 74th Street between NW 97th Avenue and NW 107th Avenue
Doral has some beautiful natural reserve lands with wildlife and endangered species and it was one of my priorities to highlight and preserve these natural habitats through Doral’s first Nature-oriented park. The 25-acre, $11M Glades Park will be the City’s first, nature-oriented park space designed around a large lake accessible via a series of trails, boardwalks, a kayak launch, and a fishing pier. The park will also feature a 9,000 sq. ft. Nature/Recreation Center, basketball courts, tennis courts, a playground, and a large area for multi-purpose green space, picnic shelters, walking/exercise trail, a lake viewing platform, wetlands, bike lanes, and an educational wetland boardwalk. The official groundbreaking for Glades Park will take place in October 2016. The park’s construction has already been fully-funded.
Doral Aquatics Facility- Doral Central Park
Doral’s first Aquatics Center will be a 10-acre facility with a competition and an activity pool, water slides, a weight room, a multi-purpose room, a concessions area, pavilions and cabanas, shaded seating areas, a connection to a future Community Center, and a three-story parking structure. The City will use the venue to hold local and higher education swimming competitions, senior citizen activities and more importantly programs that will ensure all of Doral’s children learn to swim. This state of the art facility will allow us to engage in private/public partnerships, which will attribute to creating sustainable alternatives for its future operations and maintenance. The Aquatics/Water Park is designed and almost ready for permitting.
Culture Arts Facilities
In addition to fully planning and funding these projects, in 2015 the city purchased the parcel of land adjacent to Downtown Doral Park where we are designing a 12,500 sq. ft. Cultural Center. In order to remain competitive as a high-quality place to live, work, learn and play, the City of Doral must continue to provide world-class services for parks and recreation facilities as well as cultural activities.
As our community matures, it is important to ensure that Doral continues to meet the community’s needs. This year, we began research for the 2017 Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Doral needs elected officials committed to preserving our city’s green spaces and to funding programing at our parks. The successful results achieved in additional parks and recreation facilities for our community over the last four years are clearly visible today. Parks are the spirit of a community; it is were we gather as families, as friends, and as neighbors. I am commitment to Doral’s future and I will continue to make sure that these facilities are well-planned, service-oriented, sustainable, and state of the art. It is what we have come to expect in Doral, and it is also one of the many things that I am working on to ensure a bright and bold future for our community.
Article and Political advertisement for and approved by Christi Fraga for City of Doral Seat 3