Miami Gardens agrees with school board to build facility at Risco Park

07/24/2014 2:04 PM

07/24/2014 2:05 PM

Miami Gardens revealed one of the first major parks projects to utilize the city’s $60 million general obligation bond money.

The City Council voted Wednesday to allow the city to enter into an agreement with the Miami-Dade school board to build a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) facility that would also house a recording and TV studio and instruction facility in Risco Park, at 19010 NW 39th Ave.

The city negotiated a 40-year lease agreement, with two 10-year extensions. Staffing for the STEM programs will be paid for by the school board, while the city will pay $1 a year for the lease and will handle maintenance of the land.

“We’re going to build the facility right there on that spot that was previously overgrown and underused; previously it was an eyesore,” Mayor Oliver Gilbert said. “In 10 years there will be kids that will know how to do things we could never even imagine.”

City Manager Cameron Benson said the plans for placing one of the bond projects at Risco Park started when SEED School Miami was looking for land for the facilities. SEED eventually chose a space on Florida Memorial University’s campus, but Benson said those talks made them consider the area.

“As we were discussing it, we thought that would be something we’d like to have as a potential site,” Benson said.

Benson didn’t have an estimate on when the project’s construction will begin, but said requests for proposals to construction contractors have been sent out and he will present those plans to the council in September or October.

Also at the meeting, the council voted to call for a special election, in conjunction with the Nov. 4 general election, to have residents vote on an amendment to the city charter. The amendment would strike section 9.6 of the city’s charter, the section that led the city the sue the county earlier this month.

Section 9.6 of the City Charter states that the stadium properties and the Dolphin Center Development of Regional Impact and all zoning and building approvals, street maintenance and other regulations would all fall under the county’s jurisdiction.

The city said it wants to control building and zoning in the area surrounding Sun Life Stadium, but can’t as the land is county owned. The sides have had discussions in the past and nearly reached an agreement, but the talks stopped.

“We’ve had more conversation, more dialogue and we’ve gotten further in those five days than we did in the previous 15 months,” Gilbert said.

The council will recess for the month of August and the next regular council meeting will be held Sept. 10 at City Hall, 18605 NW 27th Ave.

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