Recently the City of Miami Gardens hosted a Ribbon cutting Ceremony at the new recreational center; named after former Miami-Dade County Commissioner, Betty T. Ferguson. The event took place on September 23 at the B.T.F. Rec. Center; 3000 NW 199th St. Ferguson said it feels great to have the Recreation Complex named in her honor.
“I am thankful that Mayor Shirley Gibson and the City Council saw fit to bestow this honor while I could share in the celebration.” She said.
The ceremony was kicked off with a performance by the Miami Heat dancers and ‘Bernie the Mascot’ entertained the guest in attendance. Ferguson, Mayor Shirley Gibson, and District 1 Commissioner Barbara Jordan spoke at the celebration to the invited guess. Ferguson conceived the idea of a community recreational center in 1994 when she was a County Commissioner. Until her retirement, she battled to see the project come to pass and even secured 3 million dollars in funding for furnishing for the center. Ferguson appreciates the City of Miami Garden’s recognition of all her hard work and dedication to see the community she grew up in have a facility to call their own.
“Mayor Gibson presented the resolution, because she appreciated the fact that I struggled for many years to obtain millions of dollars for the construction of a community center… I grew up in this community and felt that we deserved a community center as much as any other community.” said Ferguson.
Ferguson’s favorite amenity at the Rec Center is the indoor swimming pool. This is something that she fought to have as part of the design so that residents can learn to swim year round day or night.
“I pushed hard for the in-door pool because with so many drowning…I strongly believe that we should be giving swimming lessons year round.” said Ferguson.
The B.T.F. Rec Center has an indoor swimming pool equipped with a water slide, basketball court, gym, fitness center, two dance studios, class rooms, auditorium, banquet rooms, and athletic complex. Along with these amenities the center offers programs to the community at little cost to them, including the “Biggest Loser” competition offered through the fitness center; where residents will compete to lose the most pounds over the next few months.
Christine Carney, the Community Center Manager, said that the center, that took 3 years to build and cost $15 million to construct, is being well received by the residents in the community.
“We have received all positive feedback from the residents about the center. They are extremely happy the facility has finally opened and that they now have a state of the art facility in their own backyard.”
Carney said the B.T.F Rec Center promotes a healthy lifestyle for the residents by providing swim lessons for all ages, water aerobics for ages 16 and above, instructional fitness classes, personal training as well as memberships; memberships will allow residents and non-residents the use of the different amenities at the Complex at minimal fees.
“It represents a sense of community. At the complex one can do many things in one visit from physical activity to improve one’s health to social activities to begin to build a better community.” Carney said.
Lamar Curtis, 28, Ryan Rodriguez, 22, Sean James, 25, and Johnathan Fairell, 17 were with friends enjoying a friendly game of 3 on 3 basketball in the professionally designed gym. They expressed how refreshing it was to have a safe clean place to go and how the staff was kind and friendly.
“It beats 24hr [Fitness Center]…There you pay $30 a month and her you pay $40 for the year, you can’t beat it… My favorite thing here is the court and the work out center.” Curtis said.
Marie Cottie, 43, who came to work out during her break from work, and Tammi Percell, 42 utilized the outdoor track. Cottie said how she had to drive to a track in Miramar just to get a decent workout done. The two residents have an opportunity and convenience to work out in the new state of the art facility.
“We like it… It’s good for the community… It’s great!” Cottie said.