Major‘facelifts’ proposed for areas of West Kendall

Miami-Dade District 11 Commissioner Juan C. Zapata has begun upgrading appearances of West Kendall walls, medians and areas barren of landscaping by initiating a series of “Signature Projects” planned each year, beginning in 2013.

His improvement program partly responds to citizens who have long sought measures as simple as repainting community walls with a single toned paint.

That was activist Martha Backer’s suggestion over a year ago when she asked the county to continue using the same color when community service groups spent Saturdays covering up graffiti eyesores with “paintouts.”

“Enhancing the beauty of our community is important in creating a sense of identity for the residents of West Kendall and West Dade,” said Zapata who has created a Beautification Committee of residents and business people to identify “opportunities to enhance landscaping or architectural design to improve aesthetics.”

“The first Signature Project during spring 2013 will be the Coral Way Corridor between SW 147th Avenue and 127th Avenue,” explained Fernanda Sanchez, a Zapata aide.“We are currently seeking volunteers in the community to help us paint cement walls along Coral Way with one uniform color to improve the aesthetics and cohesiveness.”

Uniform painting for West Kendall walls is only one of several upgrades scheduled for SW 24th Street that also will incorporate color and design aesthetics through flowering shrubs and plants in the medians, flowering trees along the north and south swales and colored rocks, she said.

“The trees along the north and south swales will also help obscure or buffer the different colored cement walls that tend to dominate this corridor,” she noted. “We are also working with owners of commercial shopping centers on Coral Way and SW 137th Avenue so that they can also beautify their property.”

Residents interested in volunteering can contact Sanchez at 305-375-5511 to volunteer for community beautification paintouts. Other new projects:

• Median “bullnoses” along SW 104th Street from 137th Avenue to SW 147th Avenue have been landscaped with pink bougainvillea and low growing shrubbery.

• The south median separating SW 104th Street from a parallel residential road has been landscaped with verawood trees that blooms two to four times yearly with abundant yellow flowers. “David Fairchild was the first to introduce verawood to the U.S. at Fairchild Tropical Gardens,” Sanchez noted. “The trees are native to coastal forests of Venezuela and Colombia. The wide, dense canopy makes it an excellent shade tree as well.”

• A winding asphalt bicycle path also is under design by the Parks Department for the median.

• A new Cocoplum hedge was planted along the canal bank between SW 147th and SW 162nd avenues to help reduce litter along the canal bank. An herbicide was used to kill the wild cane grass that dominated the canal bank.

In addition, Commissioner Zapata announced a partnering with “Citizens for a Better South Florida” in its campaign to increase tree canopies throughout West Kendall and West Miami-Dade, urging residents and businesses to check <www.abettersouthflorida.org> for supporting contributions marked “Trees for WeKe.” Zapata’s office will transmit donations to the national program.

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