The new Miami Lakes Youth Center — the Spot — officially opened its doors on Saturday to dozens of families.
It was a moment that Mayor Michael Pizzi and the rest of the town council have been imaging for years.
“This is one of the last things on the bucket list,” Pizzi said at the grand opening. “Fifteen years ago when we first became a city, the youth center was one of our main priorities. It’s our gift to our children.”
The Spot is a 4,000-square-foot complex that includes a multipurpose activity room, a classroom area that will be used for educational programs and tutoring, a half basketball court and a playground.
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In addition, the building and park have free Wi-Fi access.
Nicholas Hing, 11, went straight for the dart boards in the back when he walked in.
“This is amazing,” Nicholas said as he looked around the activity area. “It’s great. I really like how they have the basketball hoops here.”
The concept of a Miami Lakes Youth Center has been in the works since about 2011 when the town decided on Miami Lakes Picnic Park East, 6075 Miami Lakes Dr., to be its future site.
The project came in about $200,000 under its $1 million budget.
“It’s what the kids here deserve,” said Tony Lopez, chief of operations for the town. “The elected officials here are creating a legacy for the future of the town.”
Another item knocked off the town’s bucket list last month was the opening of Fire Station 64, off Northwest 154th Street and 77th Avenue. Before the opening, firefighters in that station had to work out of a trailer near Commerce Way.
The town has been waiting for the station open for the past decade.
Councilman Nelson Rodriguez, a Coral Gables firefighter, says the new station means faster response times for residents.
“It’s a faster response time because they’re now on a major thoroughfare,” he said.