State of Town: Mayor cites Optimist Park comment

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 0 Comments


A gut-wrenching comment about the conditions at Miami Lakes Optimist Park stuck in the craw of Mayor Manny Cid. But the person who made those sentiments really hurt.

 “Someone told me that Miami Lakes Optimist Park is an embarrassment,” Cid said. “And the person who told me that was former Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas, who ran one the largest parks and recreation systems in the country. And he’s 100 percent right on that topic.”

Cid pledged to bring the town’s oldest park up to par starting this year, which is among his goals for 2019, and touted Miami Lakes’ accomplishments during last week’s State of the Town Address.

Cid said the town has already initiated the plan to renovate the park and is seeking input from residents on how to proceed with completing the master plan for the decrepit recreation facility.

The town flirted with the idea of borrowing money to finish the park, which has a price tag of $4.2 million, but residents quickly rejected the idea.

“We will go to 10,000 homes and see what residents want us to do to finish the park,” Cid said before a packed crowd inside the Town Council Chambers. “Let’s see what we need to do.”

Cid said the town is financially strong, recently passing an estimated $50 million budget to fund the town’s top priorities including mitigating traffic congestion, upgrading public safety and parks and recreation improvements.

For traffic, Cid said the town’s transportation master plan estimated at $25 million is fully funded, as the town is seeking solutions to the ongoing traffic gridlock.

He said construction for improvements along N.W. 67th Avenue to the Palmetto Expressway should commence next year, and Miami Lakes is ready to build a road to connect N.W. 59 Avenue to N.W. 150 and 153 streets for easier access to the industrial areas of the town.

In addition, the project to connect N.W. 67th Avenue and State Road 924 is also in the pipeline.

“We first discussed this issue in 2015 and in 2018 look how far we have gotten,” he said. “Our transportation plan is fully funded.”

The town is spending $8 million, which is 50 percent of the town’s budget, on public safety this year.

To deter crime, Cid said Miami Lakes recently installed its first License Plate Reader Camera, which would allow police to track down vehicles suspected of committing a crime.

“That’s a big big victory for the town thanks to the leadership of the council,” Cid said.

The town’s financial strength also relied on grants for capital improvement projects.

Cid said the town brought in $11 million worth of state and federal grants in 2017 and 2018, a far cry from the $1 million Miami Lakes was awarded the previous two years.

“That’s the easy way to quantify how hard the council and town staff are working on an everyday basis,” he said. 

Cid said due to the town’s partnership with Freebee, the Town was able to provide 8,792 rides and saw an increase in ridership by 34 percent compared to last year. Between January 2018 and July 2018, the dockless bike share saw a ridership of over 6,000 rides. 

Another accomplishment in 2018,  was the town’s completion of the LED streetlight conversion of all 915 Town owned lights; the town welcomed 193 new businesses to the Town; and over 14,000 followers on our social media platforms (33,000 residents). 

“Social media, that’s big because we are reaching a younger generation,” Cid said. “That’s the type of service you get in Miami Lakes.”

The State of the Town Address turned the spotlight on three council members who are leaving the dais since they are term-limited and running for higher political office.

Time was taken to pay homage to Councilmembers Tim Daubert, Ceasar Mestre and Vice Mayor Frank Mingo, who Cid said are responsible for the town’s accomplishments.

Cid presented each lawmaker with a Key to the Town, copies of their business items since serving in office, and named October 9, 2018 Tim Daubert, Ceaser Mestre, and Frank Mingo Day in Miami Lakes.

Cid said their pictures in the lobby of Town Hall will be moved to the conference room, where residents will know the legacies they left behind in Miami Lakes.

Daubert, who’s term-limited, thanked his wife for allowing him to serve the town while away from home most of the time.

“I’m not going away because I will still walk the hallway and sitting next to Mirtha Mendez during council meeting going through the agenda,” Daubert quipped.

Mestre, who’s also term-limited, said eight years flew by fast, as he recalled his daughter, Brittney, growing up during his two-terms in office.

“She wasn’t even one yet when I was first elected,” Mestre said. “So she has been with me through these eight years. “I come home and she would say ‘do you have to got to another council meeting’? So it’s finally coming to an end.”

Mestre said Cid changed the pace and ambiance of Miami Lakes, especially following the former mayor’s political scandal that landed him jail and on trial though he was acquitted.

“You’ve changed the whole demeanor and character of Town Hall, where the employees are happy and working under great leadership,” Mestre said. “We may have disagreed but we stuck together. We debated the issues but at the end, what comes out is the right thing.” 

Mingo, who’s vacating his seat to run for state representative, recalled the night that essentially sealed his decision to run for political office.

“I remember coming home from a council meeting, before I ran, frustrated,” he said. “It was around 11:30 that night and I woke up my wife and said, honey, I’m running for office. She said ‘you know you are going to have to speak in front of people.’ And I said you’re right! But we overcame it to some degree. She always have supported me.”

Mingo and his wife recently celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary. “I am very proud of that,” he said.

Mingo thanked council members and town staff for the success he had on the dais including sponsoring legislation that would require residents’ approval for annexation.

“What a great group to work with,” he said. “We always don’t agree but we didn’t take it personally.”

Mingo also recognized former Council member Tony Lama, who resigned to take a job on the West Coast.

“He was also a great guy to work with,” Mingo said.

Mingo added: “When I made decisions, I always put the town first.”

The town’s First Lady, Melissa Cid, paid homage to the wives of Mingo, Mestre and Daubert for allowing their husbands to sacrifice their personal lives to serve Miami Lakes.

“They say behind every great man is a great woman,” Melissa Cid said. “Attending council meetings, workshops and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, it was time spending away from your families. “Thank you for your support, time, love, understanding and commitment.” 


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