Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Miami Gardens council to vote on $60 million bond plan

Miami Gardens’ City Council will vote on a plan at Wednesday’s meeting that outlines the placement of different projects for its $60 million general-obligation bond issue.

The plan identifies the placement of facilities that Mayor Oliver Gilbert discussed during the campaign for the bond last year including a culinary arts facility, an alternative sports complex, a recording studio, a science, technology, engineering and math facility and a senior center.

The alternative sports complex has been planned for Bunche Park and the plan calls for the current recreation building to be torn down and replaced with a multi-story gymnasium with a running track on the second floor and instruction in boxing, gymnastics, martial arts and dance. Additionally, the plan calls for either a water playground or renovated pool to be built at Bunche Pool. The complete renovation will cost about $3.8 million while the water playground option will cost $1.4 million, according to city staff.

The senior center is set to be built on property next to Enrico Dairy Farmhouse at the corner of Northwest 183rd Street and 12th Avenue. The center will also include a walking trail and equipment rooms.

The STEM and recording studio facility will be set at Risco Park. The city announced last July that it negotiated a 40-year lease agreement with the Miami-Dade County School Board, 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.

Most of the parks will receive renovated lighting systems, new playgrounds, ADA-compliant parking and lighted walking trails. All of the parks will install new fencing and video surveillance systems and have landscaping and irrigation work done.

The plan indicates that the city has the right to modify projects based on costs, revenue or other unforeseen circumstances.

On the public-safety side of the plan, the city plans to upgrade its mobile command center and build a real-time crime center as part of its new police station. The new police department headquarters, at the city’s municipal complex, remains unfinished but is expected to be done by July, with final completion scheduled for September.

The city will also install automated license plate readers at select intersections of main roads in the city including County Line Road, Northwest 151st, 175th, 183rd and 199th streets. The plan also includes two mobile reader systems.

Assistant City Manager Craig Clay said at a community meeting Saturday that the focus is trying to make Miami Gardens police more proactive when dealing with crime.

“It allows our police officers to do better preventative policing,” Clay said.

Residents passed the bond issue last April through a mail-out ballot election, with about 13 percent of registered voters participating.

The $60 million bond will be paid out over the next 30 years and will cost the average homeowner about $44 per year. That’s based on the city’s average taxable home value of about $34,000 after the homestead exemption, and a tax increase of about $1.30 per $1,000 in taxable home value.

Also at the meeting, the council will vote to approve plans for the 2016 Jazz in the Gardens festival, including a one-year extension of its contract with Sun Life Stadium.

Council members will also vote on awarding a bid to Limousines of South Florida to handle a proposed circulator-transit system in Miami Gardens. The Miami Gardens Dash program has been in the planning stages since 2013. The free bus service is estimated to have a ridership ranging from 16,700 to 48,600 riders.

The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 18605 NW 27th Ave.