Hialeah has inaugurated its own Domino Park, but not with the intention of dethroning the popular Maximo Gomez Park in Little Havana as the top site for playing dominoes in South Florida.
The name is purely symbolic. The park, next to the John F. Kennedy Library in a picturesque open-air space surrounded by murals, does not have a single domino table. If you want to sit, there are just two artfully decorated benches.
But it does have a giant board on the lawn for chess and checkers players, and huge domino pieces that can be played on the ground.
About 100 people and artists who worked on the project attended the inauguration ceremony Thursday.
Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez said the project came about thanks to the support of The Miami Foundation and the Coipel family, which gave $25,000 for the work.
“This will be an opportunity for our citizens to enjoy art in our public spaces,” Hernandez said. “I hope you enjoy this place.”
Freddy Villamil, an artist from San Antonio de los Baños in Cuba, praised the municipal initiative for providing Hialeah residents with a place to gather and artists with a place to display their work.
“All of us developed our art work based on literary themes mixed with domino pieces,” said Villamil, who also painted some of the murals on the walls of the remodeled Kennedy library.
Grisell Gajano, a New York artist whose parents were born in Cuba, was proud of the colorful “Cuba Libre” scene she painted on the floor beneath the park’s pergola. “I feel very proud because I grew up in Hialeah, and as a child I came to this library to study,” Gajano said.
“This is an opportunity to express my gratitude for the city where my family moved to when I was 4 years old.”
Follow Enrique Flor on Twitter en @kikeflor