By: Diana Bello Aristizábal
Mayor Christi Fraga delivered her first State of the City Address on October 25. In the year in which Doral celebrated its 20th anniversary, Fraga highlighted the most significant achievements of this municipality during the last year in public safety, traffic and mobility, infrastructure, parks and recreation, among other topics.
She began her speech by talking about public safety, a segment where 43% of the budget was allocated. Due to this, several new units have been created for the Police Department such as the Vehicle Involved Crimes Enforcement Unit and the Crime Suppression Unit, while the Neighborhood Resource Unit has been revamped.
Over the past year, 12 positions were unfrozen, and 15 new officers were hired with plans to expand the department by 25% in the upcoming year. Additionally, the overall crime rate was reduced by 9% from 2022 to 2023, more than 1,100 cases were closed, and more than 180 arrests were made involving narcotics and weapon-related crimes.
In the same line regarding safety, this year Councilwoman Maureen Porras sponsored a resolution, approved by the council, to implement speed detection systems to enforce speed limits within school zones.
Other proposals approved by the City Council and celebrated at the State of the City Address include the repeal of the lifetime retirement pension plan for elected officials, the decision to pass a temporary six-month moratorium in response to the Live Local Act, and three ordinances sponsored by Vice Mayor Rafael Pineyro that enhance littering penalties and prohibit unsightly outdoor storage.
Infrastructure and mobility
In her speech, the mayor also mentioned the work done this year in infrastructure. Highlights include the widening of NW 66th Street, operational improvements to NW 117th Ave., intersection improvements at NW 58th Street, along the 114th and 112th Avenues, and stormwater improvements to NW 33rd Street, as well as NW 57th Ave., and NW 79th Ave., among others, for a total of $5.5 million spent to complete five roadway infrastructure projects. “For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, we have allocated an additional $2.7 million in roadway infrastructure projects.”
She also highlighted a partnership with Bridge Point Doral that helped secure a new access road at NW 112th Ave., “This new road will significantly improve accessibility across the city,” Fraga said.
Regarding mobility, the mayor underlined the addition of Freebee Tesla’s, the increase in Doral Trolleys and the plans for expanded Micro Transit options in the near future. “The goal is to reduce traffic and promote healthier lifestyles where more time is spent out of our cars and with our families.”
Communication and information
In addition to the aforementioned achievements, Mayor Fraga has set her mind into consolidating the ‘open doors’ policy the City of Doral has with the establishment this year of ‘Info Doral’, a service available on the second floor of the Government Center. Its purpose is to help the community with resources and information.
To offer further assistance, the Doral Government Center now also houses a satellite office for District 5 School Board Member Danny Espino providing direct access to better education and educational resources for Doral families.
Other actions aimed at strengthening communication include enhancing social media platforms and establishing community outreach strategies. “We have been able to tell Doral story and keep you all better informed on all the exceptional things happening in and around Doral,” the mayor said.
Parks and recreation
Another item celebrated at the State of the City is the wide range of recreational, cultural, sporty, and health-related activities that were organized this year, such as Doral’s first ever half marathon, Pickleball days, the Alzheimer’s Association symposium in partnership with South Florida PBS and initiated by Councilman Oscar Puig-Corve, and a seminar on healthy aging presented by Councilwoman Digna Cabral.
In the same way, the progress in the construction of Doral Central Park also stood out, as it was 15% completed at the beginning of the mayor’s tenure and today is over 42% completed with an anticipated opening date of summer 2024.
The park will now have new additions such as lights on bike paths and the reintegration of multipurpose fields. “I invite you all to learn about the parks project status updates through a series of educational workshops that already kicked off. We want you to have the insights you deserve and come along for this ride,” Fraga stated.
- Covanta: After the plant fire in February, council members and the mayor have worked tirelessly to get the county commission to approve moving the facility outside of the city limits. This decision is yet to be confirmed.
- Annexations: This year, the City of Doral has continued its efforts to get the board of county commissioners to finally annex areas 6 and a portion of 15 to this municipality. Its approval would mean an increase in the tax base.