Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Historic Miami Woman’s Club renovated, to soon reopen to public

Outside the Miami Woman’s Club in Northeast Miami.
Outside the Miami Woman’s Club in Northeast Miami. Miami Herald File

The beautiful, historic building on North Bayshore Drive near downtown Miami at the mouth of Biscayne Bay, and home to the Miami Woman’s Club for generations, will soon be open again for business. Vacant since 2009, club members met two weeks ago for a special membership meeting and voted overwhelmingly in favor of the agreement with The Heafey Group, which will lease three floors of the building.

While the Heafey Group will have a license to use the exterior of the building and will submit plans for the surrounding property to include landscaping and parking, the Miami Woman’s Club retains ownership of the building and will utilize two floors for cultural exhibits and events, community initiatives, meetings and archives.

“We have come to the end of a very long and arduous search for the best way to repair and restore our historic landmark,” said Noreen Timoney, president of the club.

Due to extensive interior damage for over 40 years, during a prior lease with a former tenant, the club was left vacant for the past seven years. In trying to fix the damage, the club used all available assets to supplement a grant from the Miami Community Redevelopment Agency to repair the systems, structure and exterior of the building in compliance with all codes and requirements. Still, the building/clubhouse was left gutted and in need of major interior renovations.

When the renovations are completed, the first floor of the clubhouse will house a first-class restaurant, while the third floor will house the Miami Woman’s Club Cultural Center. The fourth floor will be a grand ballroom/banquet facility, and the fifth floor will house a Miami Woman’s Club conference room and archives.

With The Heafey Group comes the hope that the clubhouse will once again be restored to its glory.

“The lease and partnership will take the Miami Woman’s Club into the future while honoring our rich legacy,” Timoney said. “The Heafey Group will pay for all costs associated with the reparations and renovations of the facility and all ongoing maintenance for the entire building, grounds, and other associated expenses.”

Timoney said that although the clubhouse was vacant for nine years, the club managed to “accomplish numerous strides in community service and civic engagement through collaboration with other groups.

In celebration of the agreement with The Heafey Group partnership, club members hosted a lease-signing party July 9 at the Perez Art Museum.

Monthly luncheon program meetings will resume in the fall and will be held at the nearby Doubletree Grand Hotel.

Dog therapy at The Palace

Dogs of nearly all shapes, sizes, colors and breeds will invade The Palace at Kendall in a good way, at 1 p.m. July 18.

Gene Grizzle of Therapy Dogs will bring the dogs and their owners to visit with the residents of the assisted-living facility to show their love to the senior residents.

“The warmth, companionship, love and entertainment that dogs provide can make all the difference in the life of an older person,” Grizzle said. “Research into the health benefits of interacting with dogs and other pets is now well established.”

The benefits of dog therapy for seniors include lowing blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, releasing endorphins that have a calming effect, diminishing overall physical pain, and an automatic relaxation response through the act of petting.

The benefits also aids in better mental health and helps to provide the motivation to move more, stretch farther, exercise longer which increases joint movement and improves recovery time.

“We are so delighted to welcome Gene and his dogs to The Palace. … We know that both dogs, big and small, can have a wonderfully positive impact on the health of senior, both emotionally and physically. … When seniors have to care for a pet, they tend to take care of themselves better, too,” said Adam Rosenblum, vice president of The Palace at Kendall.

Young Woman Achiever scholarships

Congratulations to Michelle Rodriguez and Shanquell Ballou, who were honored with inaugural $1,000 Young Woman Achiever scholarship awards presented by the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women. The scholarships were presented at the June 30 county commission meeting.

Both Rodriguez and Ballou are outstanding graduates of the Young Women’s Preparatory Academy, a Miami-Dade County magnet school for girls, which is ranked as one of the top 100 high schools in the United States. The Commission for Women has developed a partnership with the school and plans to continue awarding annual scholarships to its graduates.

Rodriguez will attend Mount Holyoke college, while Ballou will attend the University of Florida. North Miami Mayor Dr. Smith Joseph donated the funds for the scholarship awarded to Rodriguez.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.