Minurka Bolaños watched her 2-year-old son toddle around the playhouse that hides in the shade of sails stretched over Downtown Doral Park.
It’s part of her daily routine to bring little Elijah Martinez to the park, which was built last year and lies a minute’s walk away from Doral City Hall. As Elijah ran around the playground, Bolaños said she prefers the quieter late mornings to the kid-filled afternoons.
“There’s no one ever here,” she said Tuesday morning.
Less than a quarter-mile away, in a third-floor chamber that crowns a City Hall completed last year, city commissioners discussed proposed ordinances and strategic planning for the future. Not too far from there, behind the walls of the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, construction continues on the Blue Monster — the famed golf course that’s getting a facelift as part of a $200 million resort renovation bankrolled by Donald Trump, who bought the property last year.
The signs of a growing suburban community are everywhere in one of Miami-Dade’s youngest cities, which turned 10 on Monday, marking a decade since Doral’s incorporation. Its proximity to Miami International Airport and two major highways — SR 826 and SR 836 — have made it a magnet for businesses. Large businesses, small exporters, and restaurants and retailers have found a home in Doral.
But with growth comes traffic. The city is contending with how to alleviate its clogged arteries, particularly Northwest 25th and 36th streets and 87th and 107th avenues. It also has faced political growing pains, with a recent council member recall effort (it failed), the abrupt departure of a veteran interim city manager, and the hiring of a new manager with a volatile history.
Richard Kuper, executive director of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities, said that he has noted positive responses to surveys administered by Doral officials during its first decade as a city.
Overall, he said, cityhood has been good for Doral.
“The incorporation of Doral has been a very positive thing for the residents themselves and for the business community,” he said.
City officials plan to recognize the milestone at this year’s July Fourth festivities at J.C. Bermudez Park, at 3000 NW 87th Ave. A more formal celebration of the 10-year anniversary will take place on Oct. 5 at Doral Meadow Park, 11555 NW 58th St.
J.C. Bermudez, a leading figure in the incorporation effort and the city’s mayor for its first eight years, said that he is proud to have helped lead the city during its infancy.
“I think we’ve built one of the best places in South Florida,” he said. “One of the best places in the country.”
Bermudez pointed to a growing list of companies that have chosen to make Doral home — Carnival Cruise Lines, Perry Ellis International and Univision. Last month, the Miami Herald Media Company moved its headquarters to Doral, settling on 33rd Street — next to a recently built U.S. Southern Command headquarters and across the way from the Miami branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
The preadolescent city has made several strides during the past decade. The Doral Police Department was established in 2008, and 94 officers now patrol the city. Six parks have sprouted with summer programs. The area around city hall, off of 87th Avenue and 58th Street, continues to be developed. According to the U.S. Census, Doral’s population has grown from about 20,400 in 2000 — three years before incorporation — to an estimated 48,134 in 2012.