With an investment of more than $200,000, Miami-Dade County began installing a lighting system at Westbrook Park in Westchester on Saturday, after neighbors complained that the place was being used for drug dealing.
The director of the county’s parks and recreation department, Jack Kardys, said the project includes the installation of 61 light posts powered by solar panels.
“This is about a solar-energy efficiency project that will illuminate the pedestrian circuit of the park,” said Kardys shortly before the public event on Saturday morning, attended by about 20 neighbors.
County Commissioner Javier Souto, who attended the event, highlighted Kardys’ role in finding a quick solution to the neighbors’ complaints.
In November, the neighbors said that the park located at 1325 SW 103rd Pl., which had no lights, had turned into a place of suspicious transactions.
Nancy Gómez, a neighbor who has lived next to the park for 34 years, congratulated the authorities for listening to the community and launching a project that will contribute to the area’s security.
“The illumination of the park is a very good project,” Gómez said. “There was too much movement of cars here with very weird people doing strange things. With these new lights it will be a little more difficult for that to continue.”
María Rodríguez, another neighbor, said that the “community was looking forward” to the new lighting system.
“The park was remodeled about five years ago, and what was needed was lighting,” Rodríguez said. “The vandals are always ruining the atmosphere, and we believe that with the public illumination we will be safer.”
Kardys said that Westbrook is one of 260 parks owned by the county. It has a children’s playground and about 1,200 feet of pedestrian paths on its 2.5 acres.