It was a newly developed area that boasted of a safe environment for children, cul-de-sacs and well manicured landscaping envisioned by its founder, Arthur Griffing. Potential buyers also received strawberry shortcake to check the area out. Now, the Village of Biscayne Park is celebrating its 80th birthday and still offers the same allure, minus the strawberry shortcake.
“It’s a really safe neighborhood. It reminds me of when I was a kid,” said Biscayne Park resident Robin Greene, 57. “You see people walking around at night and you don’t see that in a lot of areas. They keep it very small town here.”
The emphasis on “small town” is a recurring theme in a city where the police department and several city offices are still housed in a log cabin originally built in 1935. Biscayne Park’s original 113 residents voted for its incorporation on Dec. 31, 1931, and on June 16, 1933 a state charter officially changed its name from the Town of Biscayne Park to the Village of Biscayne Park. The village, as it’s now known, has grown to more than 3,000 residents and sits on about 384 acres bordered by North Miami to its north, Miami Shores on the south and unincorporated Miami-Dade County on its east and west sides.
Although Josefina Nazario, 60, lives about two blocks outside of the village in North Miami, she chooses to go to the village every day.
“I’ve been bringing my daughter to this park (Ed Burke Recreation Center) for 15 years and my husband and I walk here every morning at 5 a.m.,” Nazario said. “I feel so much safer here. The police are always around and it’s very quiet.”
Nazario, who works as a private nurse, also brings resident Ruth Feinberg, 84, to the park every day.
“You have a very nice feeling of community here,” Feinberg said.
“People are out and about. The neighbors watch out for each other and the police are always around. There’s barely any crime here,” added Greene.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the village’s crime rate for 2012 was the fourth lowest in the county. Chester Morris has been a village resident since 1969 and he attributes the village’s success to “old-time values.”
“The trees, the medians, everybody gets along, it all goes back to old-time values and people helping one another,” Morris said.
As the city continues to grow it’s exploring annexation and focusing on enhancing property values. According to City Manager Ana Garcia, the emphasis is using community code compliance to help homeowners improve the look of their homes.
“We’re following two paths here. One is to improve the aesthetic look of the village and also reducing crime through proactive policing and a neighborhood crime watch,” Garcia said.
Furthermore, during the 80th anniversary celebration held at the log cabin, Mayor Noah Jacobs said they were looking forward to the future and the changes it held.
“We are embracing the future with open arms and wide smiles,” he said.
Now, there’s only one thing missing.
“I really wish we had a community pool,” added Greene.