Doral approves new design contract for northwest park

The Doral City Council has approved a $1.2 million contract with a firm to design the long-awaited park on Northwest 114th Avenue that will feature the city’s first community center.

Last week, the City Council unanimously approved the deal with St. Petersburg-based Wannemacher Jensen Architects to design the project. After acquiring 18 acres between Northwest 80th and 82nd streets in 2010 and budgeting $4.5 million for the first phase of the park this year, city leaders are eager to see the project move forward.

The city hopes to break ground in December, and construction will take about 18 months. The total cost is estimated at between $10 million and $15 million.

Barbara Hernández, parks and recreation director, told the council the new concept adds amenities like a splash pad and and extra soccer field.

“We noticed that it had a lot more services and amenities than the previous design had,” she said. “Which would be better for the community as a whole.”

The conceptual design includes a 35,000-square-foot community center, five tennis courts, three adult basketball courts and a smaller kids’ court, a baseball/softball field, a beach volleyball court, a playground and the splash pad, where fountains shoot water out of the ground for kids.

The two-story community center will have several rooms for dance classes, senior citizens’ activities, arts and crafts and other programs, as well as multipurpose room with a stage, basketball court and an indoor track overlooking the court.

Councilwoman Bettina Rodríguez Aguilera said adding playground equipment designed for children with special needs would not be difficult because the local Lions Club is willing to donate some of it.

“Not only is it necessary, but it is something that they are just willing to give us,” she said.

The city had considered a concept by another architecture firm, AECOM, but city staff could not reach a deal with the firm last summer. After the city solicited new proposals in the fall, a committee of city staffers ranked Wannemacher Jensen’s as the top proposal.

Follow @joeflech on Twitter.

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