This is second of two articles explaining how Indian Hammocks Park is being explored for expansion of recreational and community facilities by the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Expansion of Indian Hammocks Park in Kendall by 70 acres with a community/senior center and aquatic facilities has been proposed by the Miami-Dade Department of Parks and Recreation.
Use of five to 10 acres near or adjacent to SW 82nd Terrace for recreation, community and senior centers in a coordinated design is recommended for new park facilities with five other areas designated for potential expansion.
One proposal would share new facilities on the site now used by the Department of Human Services for disabled children’s programs in rehabilitated buildings dating back to World War II and known locally as “The Cottages.”
Those older structures have been earmarked for potential redevelopment with BBC (Building Better Communities) bond funding, along with a $6 million allotment for Indian Hammocks Park. The report also suggests an alternate location off of the SW 107th Avenue entrance in the park’s southeastern area.
Answering residents’ most-often-voiced needs, the community center would provide meeting space available to Community Council 12 and shared facilities such as a kitchen and office cluster with adjacent senior/disability services.
The project tentatively is scheduled to be financed in Fiscal 2016-17, providing budget capacities are available to fund both its operation and construction.
The aquatics center would have special facilities for the disabled, wellness, leisure, and children’s pools as well as separate 25- meter lap and diving pools, along with spectator seating and an office building with lockers, men’s and women’s and family restrooms. Space would be reserved for a potential 50-meter lap pool.
Such short and long-term planning for the park is detailed in a 31-page Expansion Feasibility Studyrelating how the 105-acre park was carved from 285 acres of farmland purchased by the county in 1917.
During the past century, other uses were found for the 180-acre balance divided among several county agencies. In addition, a 21-acre parcel was sold in 1954 for the now-abandoned Haven Center, adjoining the park’s southwest area.
Conversion for park use would provide room for new facilities and open new park lands outside Indian Hammocks’ present 105-acre boundary, primarily north of SW 82nd Terrace to SW 76th Street between SW 107th and SW 117th avenues.
“We are trying to respond to build the facilities people have asked for and provide better services within the constraints of both current projected financing,” said Maria I. Nardi, chief of Park Planning and Research.
Nardi, together with project manager Andy McCall and a planning team, designated five other areas in addition to “The Cottages” with park use potential, as well as one outright purchase. Those proposals include:
• In cooperation with Miami-Dade Public Schools, continued use of 15 acres through a joint agreement, already developed with lighted soccer fields and a baseball diamond adjacent to the new Terra Technical Research Institute, Miami- Dade’s “Green” High School opened two years ago.
• Designating a five-acre Water and Sewer Department easement paralleling SW 76th Street for park use, currently fenced with pedestrian openings that can access the forested land areas.
• Use of a 15-acre Department of Solid Waste Management property now in the process of transfer to the Parks Department that will expand park access in northern and eastern areas off SW 76th Street SW 107th Avenue.
• Transfer of 4.25 acres adjacent to a Kendall cemetery off SW 117th Avenue for use as open space, accessed by a perimeter sidewalk to existing pine and oak tree shaded areas.
• Potential purchase of the 21.06-acre Haven Center property, now under private ownership of Sunrise Opportunities Inc., an active Florida company that formerly operated services for handicapped adults. The site carries an assessed market value of $9 million.
• Expanding Indian Hammocks Park facilities pivots on budget capacities that add annual operational costs over and above construction, said August M. Laney, Capital Programs manager for Parks and Recreation. Primarily for that reason, the original $6 million for Indian Hammocks Park was not included in the third BBC sale of $200 million in bonds, as approved by the county commission on Mar. 1, but will be reconsidered for the next sale to allow development in 2017-18.
NEW SKATING PARK GETS UNDERWAY
Construction of a community skate court immediately east of the Indian Hammocks Park baseball complex was scheduled to begin during March.
The project will include viewing bleachers with a shade canopy and a water fountain, financed through $600,000 from impact fees derived from private development resources.
Substantial completion by the contractor is scheduled in August with opening by September or earlier, according to the Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department.