Major changes coming to Town of Miami Lakes

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 0 Comments

A lot has changed in Miami Lakes since its incorporation in December 2000. There are more homes, schools and businesses that have replaced many of the town’s iconic cow pastures. 

Miami Lakes is growing, but it is also working hard to hold on to its small town feel. Home to weekly farmer’s markets, movies in the park and open Town Hall Meetings, Miami Lakes is one of the few, if not the only, cities that advocates community involvement and allows these events to rest on voluntary efforts. Now, as part of Mayor Manny Cid’s campaign initiatives, the town will be seeing many changes in the upcoming year. 

“These events are organized and run by volunteers, residents and people who go to the committee meetings,” says Cid. As the only candidate in the 2016 mayoral election who grew up in the town, he knew that committees weren’t always run this way. 

“When I served on the Economic Development Committee, the committees were very autonomous. Then there were several years where the committees were converted into different fractions where you had council members serving on committees,” says Cid. “Once you put a councilmember on there, it changes the dynamic.” 

“When I got elected, we went back to the way it should be. If somebody wants to volunteer and give their precious time to this community, they should be able to do so and come up with whatever events they want to. I shouldn’t be dictating what happens.”

Cid has stayed true to his campaign promise by implementing “Mayoral Office Hours” on every first and third Saturday of the month where the office is open to hear Miami Lakers’ concerns. Just recently, the mayor shared a phone number where residents can text him 24/7. 

If a resident can’t attend a Town Hall meeting, they can record a video from their smartphone stating their opinion on an issue, and the video will be played and considered at the meeting. 

“It gives people, really, an opportunity to participate in government in whichever way that they wish to do,” Cid explained. 

By listening to his constituents in a way that few other mayors in Miami-Dade County do, he has realized two major issues in the town: Public health and traffic – and traffic is indeed a heated point of contention among Miami Lakes residents.

“The traffic in Miami Lakes is horrible,” said Helena Castro, activities director at Miami Lakes Educational Center and also a town resident, who is concerned not only with the current gridlock, but to what she says will be even more traffic congestion.

“I can only look to the future with dread as construction continues to progress. It will only bring more traffic headaches for anyone that has to commute through the area.” 

The town, according to Cid, is working on the issue. They have also signed agreements to mitigate some of the most prominent traffic issues. 

“This upcoming year you’re going to see a lot of work on Ludlam and traffic gets talked about all the time, but we actually went out there and fulfilled those promises,” says Cid. “On Ludlam, a third lane is going to be created going North under the Palmetto Expressway.

“According to engineers, that’s going to improve traffic flow in that area by 50 percent because it won’t have that bottleneck there anymore.” 

On N.W. 67 Avenue and the Gratigny, the town has already received approval for a $28 million dollar project working with Miami-Dade Expressway Authority to create more on-ramps and off-ramps to the Gratigny. The Town  also have an agreement with MDX so N.W. 87 Avenue, between Hialeah and Miami Lakes, will have an entrance to I-75 and the Gratigny Expressway.

It is possible that by the end of this month, all of the streetlights on N.W. 154 Street west of the Palmetto Expressway will be synchronized in real time through communication with smart devices that analyze traffic in certain areas. 

“We’re looking at a 10 to 15 percent [traffic] improvement on 154th,” says Cid. 

The Town of Miami Lakes now has a partnership with Spin, a deckless bike-sharing company. 

Bikes have been deployed since November 18 around Miami Lakes West Park. Using a smartphone, residents scan the bike tag, pay a fee and the bike unlocks automatically. 

Soon to come to Miami Lakes is “Freebee,” which is already being used in Brickell and South beach. It will allow for two six-passenger, street legal, motorized, battery-powered golf carts to be on-demand via smartphone. 

Optimist Park – which hasn’t been touched since the 70’s – will be seeing redevelopment through a $4 million dollar investment. “You’re talking about putting in new basketball courts with an airnasium, redoing the tennis courts, and redoing the concession stands,” shared Cid. 

The town has passed three components to the redevelopment of Optimist Park: Install a cell tower, new LED lights, and an agreement with East Bay. “Then at that point the decision, we’ll make in six months – if we borrow the money, if we come up with an agreement with a vendor to build it out and we do a payment plan, or if we just pull it out of reserves one time or look at capitals dollars for that.” 

Aside from bettering the health of the people of Miami Lakes, it is also expected to remove people from the streets, and, hopefully, congestion as a whole.

Over 30,000 people now call Miami Lakes home, according to the town’s official website. It is an area that continues to grow, and the mayor hopes it continues to live up to the town’s motto, “Growing Beautifully.”

 

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