More than 100 West Kendall youngsters celebrated the Mar. 2 opening of Wild Lime Park’s canopied playground along with Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan Zapata and parks director Jack Kardys.
The ADA-approved unit for the disabled combines colorful plastic overhead ladders, climbers and swings installed on a specially composed artificial grass surface to diminish potential scrapes and bruises.
In addition, a 50- by 65-foot canopy covers the apparatus to provide cooler temperatures under a glaring sun as well as rainy day protection.
While the morning ribbon cutting focused on the 3,400-square foot play area, Zapata set a goal for its audience of soccer-happy kids in The Hammocks, predicting that “we hope to make Miami-Dade County the ‘soccer capital’ of Florida in years to come.”
Recalling his service in 1996 as chair of the West Kendall Community Council, the newly elected District 11 commissioner said, “We started expansion of Wild Lime Park with a plan for new soccer fields where hardly any soccer fields then existed.”
Wild Lime Park today has two lighted soccer fields, a recreation and youth league center, and adjacent walking paths with additional parking, as well as the clubhouse and tennis courts.
Adding to Kendall’s claim as a “soccer capital” is the first U.S. installation of Soccer Six, a year-round reduced-sized sport for youth and adults, located at Kendall Soccer Park with four regulation lighted soccer fields and a field center.
Kardys said the park’s new addition is “part of a 50-year open space program” that is designed eventually to interconnect all major county parks and playgrounds with bike and pedestrian paths.
“It represents our commitment to expanding public park spaces, as well as encouraging youth to develop healthminded habits at an early age,” he said.
Funding totaling $208,000 provided through the development impact fee program paid for the playground, designed by an in-house Parks Department team and using DW Recreation Services Inc., general contractor.