The City of Opa-locka Parks and Recreation Department, supported by the City Commission, sponsored a “Meet and Greet” on Saturday, April 2, 2011 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the newly renovated Segal Park, 2331 NW 143rd Street, to provide the community an opportunity to interact with the parks staff and Director Lorenzo Laidler, Jr., who presented the residents with information on the park facilities/rentals, existing programs/- partnerships, future endeavors and the Summer Program Procedures.
During the “Meet and Greet,” Laidler discussed the Sherbondy Village development; updated residents on the anticipated completion date of construction for Ingram Park’s Lake Front; provided details about the Helen Miller Center’s renovation project; and made the community aware of the expansion plan (into the vacant lot bordered by 22nd Avenue) for Segal Park.
Commissioner Gail E. Miller, daughter of former Mayor Helen Miller, reminisced on the “Rock Pit,” that Segal Park once was, during her childhood. But now, she commented, “…it is a showcase for the families in this neighborhood to be proud of, while enjoying the beautiful atmosphere!”
Commissioner Timothy Holmes, who only had to remind one youth at the “Meet & Greet” to “Pull-up” his pants, reminded attendees of the innovation The City of Opa-locka has had in countless areas, but he said, “We have gone unrecognized for many of the positive steps made to benefit our children.” He stated that he is anxious to see the progress continue!
Commissioner Rose Tydus noted that a bold word placed uniquely above each Pavilion, represented an optimistic outlook for the future of the Parks & Recreation Department. She observed, “LOVE, HOPE, FAITH and HAPPINESS” will have a positive effect in Segal Park and on the community, as well.
Vice Mayor Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson invited each participant to contribute to the vision and reach out to the youth with their talents, resources and inclusiveness. She would like to see families come to the City of Opa-locka parks together and engage not only in football, basketball, baseball, soccer and tennis, but branch out into golf, chess, dominos and projects like growing vegetables, while working from an educational foundation. When the Vice Mayor asked 14-year-old Jeremiah McMahon (attending the “Meet & Greet” with his mother), about his future goals, he stated that he wanted to be “Ready for Life!” The Vice Mayor said she would like the community to become a part of helping Jeremiah and other determined youths like him, prepare for such goals. She also stressed the importance of making “the dollar flip three to four times before leaving the Opa-locka community.”
Three days following the “Meet & Greet”, during a conference with Lorna Shuford, Founder/President of the Little River Historical Cultural & EDC; Richard Williams III (brother of Venus and Serena Williams); community organization leaders; and City staff, Laidler further elaborated on his expectations for the Department, while discussing the possibility of joining forces to create a “topnotched” tennis program in the City of Opa-locka. He invited the room to share their expertise, network and consider other potential collaborations that will be beneficial to Opalocka youth. With the continued support of the Commission, community, and various partnerships, Mr. Laidler noted that he is optimistic about the future success of the Parks & Recreation Department. He remarked, “If we brainstorm ideas together, we can enhance and develop the community, along with the services we provide.”
For Questions, comments or more information on the City of Opa-locka Parks & Recreation Department, call: 305 953-3042 The City of Opa-locka Parks are opened: Monday – Friday, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM Saturday, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM