Lawmakers seek funding to complete Optimist Park

Friday, August 4, 2017 0 Comments

At the July 25 Miami Lakes Town Council meeting, lawmakers approved Councilmember Tim Daubert’s recommendation to locate monies and explore other funding options to accelerate the build out of Miami Lakes Optimist Park. 

The recreation facility has been in the town’s parks and recreation master plan for sometime now but renovation projects have been slowed since the town agreed to use the pay-as-you-go plan.

Daubert is requesting town staff to seek out park and other impact fees to fund the park  renovations, which includes new dugouts, batting cages, baseball fields, and a gymnasium.

He also called for the “large” park mitigation money donated by developers, estimated at $1.5 million, to be placed in reserve and to be only used for Miami Lakes Optimist Park.
But Town Manager Alex Rey said the money can only be used to create open space or build a new park, and the town can’t change the agreement with the developers.

Rey said the money would be used to develop the Par 3 Golf Course and the recreation area for senior citizens. 

Councilmember Nelson Rodriguez said the pay-as-you-go plan never worked and suggested borrowing the money to finish the park.

“The park has been the same for years,” he said. “You never get anywhere with pay-as-you-go.”  

Residents overwhelming defeated a straw ballot in 2003 to borrow the money to renovate Miami Lakes Optimist Park, develop Royal Oaks Park and build a new youth center.

After the crushing defeat, council members decided on the pay-as-you-go plan. 

Royal Oaks and the youth center were completed but the renovations for Miami Lakes Optimist Park have been staggering for more than a decade. 

But the town was able to complete the new Miami Lakes Optimist Club house. 

In other Council news: 

• Council members deferred an ordinance to adopt its own franchise agreement with FPL for 30 years.  Lawmakers were concerned over the proposed increase for residents from 3.5 percent to 6.5 percent of FPL’s filed revenues, from the sale of electrical, commercial and industrial customers within the town, they would possibly pay under the new ordinance.

• Council members gave their initial approval for an ordinance to amend the town’s employee bonus program to comply with changes to Florida law, which now requires cities to base the bonuses on work performance; to describe the performance standards and evolution process by which a bonus will be awarded; to notify all employees of the policy, ordinance, rules or resolutions before the beginning of the evaluation period on which a bonus will be based; and consider all employees for the bonus. 

• Council members gave their initial approval for an ordinance to require developer information sessions for certain planning and zoning applications to increase awareness and encourage public participation in the development process before site plans go before lawmakers for their approval.  

• Council members gave their initial approval for a ordinance to ban cannabis dispensaries, medical marijuana treatment facilities and independent testing laboratories related to Florida law.

• Lawmakers approved a resolution to enter into a grant agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for the Miami Lakes Canal Bank Stabilization project, Phase II in the amount of $1 million; and approve a budget revision to the fiscal year 2016-2017 amended budget in the amount of $132,000 to cover the costs of project design and project management. 

• Council members approved a resolution to authorize an agreement with FPL for a pilot program to artistically wrap 5-10 non-thermal utility boxes within the town, and authorize the reallocation of $10,000 from the contingency to implement the program.

• Council members approved a resolution to amend the town’s park user fee schedule for Leisure Services Rules and Regulations. 

The ordinance provides the ability of the town manager to recommend a new rental fee schedule for the Miami Lakes Optimist Park Club House park facility to be adopted by resolution.

• Council members approved a resolution to extend the temporary moratorium on the approval of development orders relating to locating telecommunication equipment with the town’s rights-of-way for six months to allow staff time to prepare an amendment to the town’s code of ordinances reflective of the recently amended state law, which should be presented to the Town Council for adoption prior to the expiration of the temporary moratorium. 

• Council members approved a resolution to approve the intergovernmental agreement with Miami-Dade granting the town authority to install and maintain shared lane markings on town roads as approved by the county and authorize the town manager to execute any future intergovernmental agreements with Miami-Dade County for improvements as outlined in the town’s greenways and trails master plan. 

• Council members approved Councilmember Luis Collazo’s recommendation to amend the town’s charter to change the date of future special elections to coincide with Miami Lakes rather than Miami-Dade County’s elections. 

• Lawmakers approved Rodriguez’s recommendation to instruct town staff to provide possible locations to build a band shell considering the high volume of events held at the Mary Collins Community Center, Roberto Alonso Community Center, and Miami Lakes Optimist Park. 

• Council members approved Mayor Manny Cid’s recommendation to amend the town’s land development code of the Town Center District, under the current exemption, requiring Town Council approval where buildings include vertically integrated mixed uses.

Lawmakers approved a similar proposal by Collazo to amend the code to require that any site plan structure exceeding four stories in height, must be presented before the Town Council for approval. 

• Miami Lakes’ Chief of Operation Tony Lopez announced the town’s new commercial outdoor fee and license and policy plan for fitness instructors who use the parks for their business.
Lopez said he researched other cities and created a model used by Doral and Miami Beach.
He said the focus is safety and making sure the fitness instructors are properly trained, licensed and insured while using the town’s parks for fitness exercises.
The town’s new policy require the instructors to apply for a permit and pay $250 for residents and $500 for non-residents.

 • Rey said the state allocated $2 million to Miami Lakes for the town’s transportation improvement plan to build bike lanes and sidewalks along the corridors of 77th Court and 59th Avenue. 

Rey said the state allocated the money because it was so impressed over how the Town uses the money. 

“We use it well, we plan it well and implement the programs well,” he said.

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