For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2010

Media Contact:
Edith Torres


Miami-Dade Parks hosts the third Great Park Summit, March 5 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens

Provides progress update on County’s Parks and Open Space System Master Plan, pilot projects and partnering agencies

(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 
Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department hosts the third Great Park Summit, Friday, March 5, 2010, from 8 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables.  This year's theme is building a healthier community through parks and new partnerships.  

The Great Park Summit will provide an update on the progress made in the first phase of implementation of the Parks and Open Space System Master Plan (OSMP), a long-term plan that creates a sustainable, connected system of parks, and recreation and conservation open spaces.   The Summit will engage professionals from local and state agencies, landscape architects, planners, environmental organizations, patrons of the arts, businesses, universities, construction, engineering, architecture and urban planning arenas, and others to find ways to collectively move forward on the shared vision of sustainability and beauty for Miami-Dade County.

"Economic, environmental and community prosperity start with a great park system," said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez.  "Through the Great Park Summit and the OSMP, Miami-Dade and its partners are addressing quality of life and sustainability issues well into the 21st Century, but this endeavor requires the continuous collaboration and coordination of all municipalities in this community to achieve the vision of a great park system for this and future generations." 

Speakers for this year's event include: Steven Coleman, the Executive Director and President of Washington Parks & Places; Kevin Caravati, Senior Research Scientist at Georgia Tech University; Peter Wood, Health Foundation of South Florida; as well as Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos A. Gimenez, and County Manager George Burgess.

The first Great Park Summit in 2006 began the planning process for the OSMP, which is a framework of connecting parks, public spaces, natural and cultural areas, streets, greenways and blueways.  The second Great Park Summit in 2008 marked the completion of the plan which was later presented to the Board of County Commissioners and unanimously approved.

Building up to the third Great Park Summit, Miami-Dade Parks hosted three separate Partnership Workshops at various regions of the County where park and planning professionals and government officials identified opportunities for collaboration.  The outcome was several pilot projects that connect to a system of greenways and trails as identified in the vision of the OSMP. 

"A great park system is not just the sum of individual parks, but how these parks connect to each other, to neighborhoods, to libraries and schools, and to all the public spaces where our residents and visitors frequent and move through as they live, work, and play," said Jack Kardys, Director of Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department.  "It's about how people connect with each other and how they experience and come to cherish a sense of place, and about planning and building for a more sustainable community."

As part of the Summit, there will be a Get Fit: It's a Walk in the Park challenge at Tropical Park on Saturday, March 6 at 9 a.m., to promote how parks equal health, not only for the environment but for everyone.  There is no cost to attend the walk, prizes will be distributed, and people of all ages are encouraged to participate in support of parks and healthy lifestyles.

Cost to attend the Great Park Summit is free, but seating is limited.  Registration is required.    To register for the Summit or for more information, please call Eric Hansen at 305-755-5460 or send him an email at [email protected].  For more information on the Park and Open Space System Master Plan, please visit

Sponsors of the Great Park Summit include Palmetto Truck Center, Sonesta Bayfront Hotel Coconut Grove, PBS&J, Recreational Design & Construction, URS Corporation, Bacardi USA, Rep Services, Inc., Vortex Aquatic Structures Int'l., Inc., Shade Systems, Inc., Rosenberg Gardner Design, Forbes Architects, Health Foundation of South Florida, AECOM/Glatting Jackson, Curtis + Rogers Design Studio, Inc., EAS Engineering, Inc., Kimley - Horn & Associates, Municipal Lighting Systems, Inc., University of Miami, and Marlin Engineering, Inc. 

Miami-Dade Parks, a three-time National Gold Medal Award (AAPRA and NRPA) winner, Florida Governor's 2009 Sterling Award winner, and an accredited agency, is the third largest park system in the United States, consisting of 262 parks and more than 12,668 acres of land.  It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the nation.  Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises after-school, sports-development and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; arts and culture programs and events; environmental restoration efforts; Miami MetroZoo and Deering Estate; Crandon Tennis Center, home of the Sony Ericsson Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; and more.  The Miami-Dade Parks mission is to create outstanding recreational, natural and cultural experiences to enrich you and to enhance the quality of life for our community for this and future generations.


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