Coral Gables

Parks, trees and police discussed at Coral Gables commission meeting

About 3,000 more trees will be planted in the City beautiful in the coming year, the Coral Gables commission revealed Tuesday at their bi-monthly commission meeting. Here are highlights of what happened in the chambers:

▪  The city was acknowledged as “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 30th year.

The award is given to cities that show “leadership, commitment and hard work toward maintaining a successful tree care program,” according to Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation.

The city also agreed to invest $3 million to plant about 3,000 trees. Dead trees will be ripped away and replaced with new ones this year. Areas that lack trees will also get makeovers.

▪ The police department earned its reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

The department was awarded its seventh reaccreditation after a formal hearing in New Mexico in November. The reaccreditation is valid for three years.

CALEA accreditation is a voluntary process that includes a self-assessment, an on-site assessment, community input and a formal hearing in front of a review committee. In order to receive accreditation status, the Coral Gables Police Department must comply with 483 standards regarding policies and procedures, management, operations and support services that are deemed essential.

One criteria for earning accreditation with excellence requires agencies to be in compliance with a minimum of 90 percent of all applicable standards. The Coral Gables Police Department earned 97.4 percent standard compliance.

“The purpose of CALEA’s Accreditation Program is to improve the delivery of public safety services by maintaining a body of standards developed by public safety practitioners covering a wide range of initiatives and recognizing professional excellence,” Maria Rosa Higgins Fallon, the city’s public information manager, said in a news release. “Only one percent of all law enforcement agencies in North America achieve CALEA accreditation.”

▪  The city voted unanimously on renaming the Riviera Park to William H. Kerdyk Jr. Family Park, 6611 Yumuri St.

Commissioner Kerdyk will term-limit out of office on April 14, after 20 years on the dais. His absence will end a lineage of service to the city of Coral Gables of more than seven decades.

Kerdyk’s uncle, Frank E. Kerdyk, served as commissioner from 1957 until 1961. Kerdyk’s father, William Kerdyk Sr., served as commissioner from 1967 to 1995. Kerdyk Jr. has been serving Coral Gables since 1995.

Kerdyk Jr. has not shut the door to running for office sometime in the future.

“I have a strong suspicion that Commissioner Kerdyk will be back on this dais,” Commissioner Vince Lago said. “Soon enough, soon enough.”

Commissioner Frank Quesada made the motion to rename the park, which passed 5-0.

Details will be discussed at Kerdyk’s last commission meeting 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 25.