Charting a new direction that translates the growth and economic progress of West Kendall into potential incorporation is paramount among the objectives of newly seated Miami- Dade District 11 Commissioner Juan C. Zapata.
Zapata, addressing 140 members and guests of the Greater Kendall Business Association on Jan. 31, urged that “you, as leaders of the community’s economic base, take a leadership position to structure West Kendall’s future.”
Zapata often has spoken in favor of incorporating West Kendall during his early years of county service as the district’s Community Council chair in 1996-98 and as the state representative for eight years.
He designated a potential incorporation area of approximately 137,000 residents, west of Florida’s Turnpike to Krome Avenue and south of Bird Road to SW 152nd Street.
Newly appointed chair of the commission’s Infrastructure and Capital Improvements Committee, Zapata said he was “in a position to help determine the type of infrastructure the area would need to become a municipality.
“Your involvement as the community’s economic force is essential,” he told the Kendall business leaders. “Local government places you closer to the people you serve, that is why it is in your best interest to become active in any effort to achieve incorporation.”
Current planning by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) to extend the Dolphin Expressway (SR 836) beyond Florida’s Turnpike to Krome Avenue provides “even a more urgent reason for you to have a voice in determining future traffic patterns in West Kendall,” he said.
Controlling “hodge-podge development” while improving parks and park services are among the benefits of localized control, as well as building more amenities such as bike paths and pedestrian walkways, and improving local roads, he said.
Zapata already has contacted Florida International University to determine if the school would assist in developing “a master plan process as a blueprint for what this community could look like.
“You need to ask yourselves and your children, what you want the community to look like,” he urged. “You must create a vision and an identity for the area as well as planning its infrastructure.”
The monthly luncheon concluded with installation by Zapata of the 2013 board of directors who include Michael J. Welch Sr., chair; Julie Rico, chair-elect; Isabel Medina and Caty Otero, vice chairs; Gilma Hernandez, secretary, Damian Landeiro, treasurer; Lourdes Cervera Horton; Miguel A. Lopez; Tania Lorenzo; Enrique Roque, and Mike Webley.
Jorge F. Peña, founding chair, was presented with a framed picture and plaque for his service to the organization in 2005-09 and 2012, on behalf of the board, trustees, members and administrator Maggie Rehman for permanent display in the GKBA office.”