Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Council passes plan for $60 million general obligation bond

A group protesting the fatal police shooting of 25-year-old Lavall Hall interrupted a Miami Gardens’ City Council meeting on Wednesday night, but that didn’t keep the council from approving an implementation plan for its $60 million general obligation bond, and planning for next year’s Jazz in the Gardens festival.

The Council unanimously passed the bond plan, which identifies the placement of new facilities and outlines the improvements that will take place at the city’s 18 parks. The plan also details the public safety component of the bond including new surveillance cameras and license plate readers.

Councilwoman Lisa Davis also asked about the oversight committee that was established by the City Council last year before the bond passed. Mayor Oliver Gilbert said the group will begin meeting once the city begins spending money on projects. The committee is made up of residents who will attempt to keep the city on budget as the plan is implemented.

Some residents questioned the flexibility that the plan gives the city. It includes language that allows Miami Gardens to modify projects based on costs, revenue or other unforeseen circumstances as the plan rolls out.

Other residents, including Francis Ragoo, said they were concerned about the lack of financial details.

“How can one make an informed decision without an itemized list of costs?” Ragoo said.

Gilbert said that the plan is a work in progress and if something doesn’t work, city staff will address it.

“Is it a perfect document? No. There are no perfect documents, I’m resigned to that,” Gilbert said. “But I think it’s a good document. I think it’s a good plan.”

The plan calls for a senior center to be built at the corner of Northwest 183rd Street and 12th Avenue near the Enrico Dairy Farmhouse, an alternative sports complex at Bunche Park, a culinary arts facility near City Hall, a science and technology center along with an entertainment studio at Risco Park and a real time crime center at police headquarters.

Also at the meeting, the City Council voted to begin planning for the 2016 Jazz in the Gardens music festival including a one-year extension of the city’s contract with Sun Life Stadium. This year’s festival will take place March 21-22 and features Erykah Badu, Run-D.M.C., Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, Maxwell and other performers.

Council members also approved a contract with Limousines of South Florida to bring a proposed circulator-transit system to Miami Gardens. The contract can’t exceed an annual cost of $451,776. and two trolleys have to be built and delivered to the city within six months.

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.