(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- The Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces Department will celebrate the completion of its installation of a new Fitness Zone and 5,000-square-foot expansion of the NFL Y.E.T. Center at Gwen Cherry Park onTuesday, July 24, at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday's celebration dedicating the facility's new amenities will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony and facility tour. Florida Representative Cynthia Stafford, District 109; Miami-Dade County District 2 Commissioner Jean Monestime; Gwen Cherry Park Foundation board chairman H.T. Smith; Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys; and other local officials and community supporters will be guest speakers at the event, which will also feature legendary Pro Bowl Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Nat Moore (1974-1986). The public is invited to attend. Gwen Cherry Park is located at 7090 NW 22 Avenue, Miami, 33147.
"Gwen Cherry Park and its NFL Y.E.T. Center are gems within Liberty City," said Florida Representative Cynthia Stafford. "These facilities serve as a fun refuge for the community, helping residents of all ages to improve their physical fitness and learn about nutrition, nature and the arts through recreation. The park was already a cherished oasis in a bustling urban environment, and these improvements will only further help to improve the health and quality of life here."
The new Fitness Zone is an easy-to-use outdoor gym, consisting of durable, weather-resistant exercise equipment usable by pre-teen and teenage children, and adults. It is comprised of a cluster of exercise equipment permanently placed in a select area of the park designed for exercise. The installation is part of a larger initiative by Miami-Dade Parks to make fitness fun, convenient and affordable throughout Miami-Dade County. Use of the Fitness Zone is absolutely free.
In total, Miami-Dade Parks Fitness Zones are being installed at 10 of its parks, five of which are currently accessible by the public at Gwen Cherry Park, West Perrine Park, A.D. Barnes Park, Jefferson Reaves Sr. Park, and South Dade Park. Future installations are planned for Leisure Lakes Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, Oak Grove Park, Olinda Park, and Tree Island Park.
"This project represents an investment, not only in this park, but an investment in the lives of our residents," said Commissioner Monestime. "These improvements will allow more of our children to learn, play and grow at Gwen Cherry Park."
The NFL Y.E.T. Center building expansion increases the square footage of the facility from 22,000-square-feet to 27,000-square-feet, and includes the enhancements of additional classrooms, administrative office space, new restrooms, and a 1,000-square-foot porch for outdoor rest and relaxation by park users.
The Fitness Zone was funded with $90,000 from a "Communities Putting Prevention to Work" Grant provided through the Miami-Dade County Health Department. It offers a "Chest and Back Press" station, a "Squat Press" station, a "Cardio Stepper" station, a "Pull Up and Dip" station, an "Ab Crunch and Leg Lift" station, a "Balance Steps" station, an "Assisted Row and Push-Up" station, and a "Plyometrics" station with three step heights that provide increasing aerobic challenges. Park benches and several shade trees have also been added to the Fitness Zone providing users with a shady rest area.
The NFL Y.E.T. Center expansion project funding totaled $1 million, including $500,000 of Safe Neighborhood Parks Project (SNP) funds and $500,000 of NFL Charities funding.
"It's strong partnerships like that of the CDC, The Health Department and NFL Charities that help the Miami-Dade County Parks Department to fulfill its goals and commitments to children and families throughout the entire County," said Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys. "We need more organizations, large and small, public and private, to make commitments like theirs, so that collectively as a community we can truly make a powerful and lasting impact that helps improve communities and lives."
Gwen Cherry Park's 38.5 acres include: three lighted multi-purpose athletic fields; two lighted basketball courts; a lighted 400-meter-running track; lighted baseball and softball fields; a swimming pool; an amphitheater; tot-lot; picnic area; and the NFL Y.E.T. Center-also known as the National Football League (NFL) Youth Educational Town (Y.E.T.) Center-where children engage in recreational and sports programs, and after-school activities in its air-conditioned library, computer and arts-and-crafts rooms, game room, and 9,000-square-foot gymnasium for cultural, recreational and special events. The new enhancements now add a Fitness Zone to its list of quality amenities for the community to benefit from.
One of 260 parks within the Miami-Dade County parks system, Gwen Cherry Park is named after the first African-American woman elected to the Florida Legislature, the late Mrs. Gwendolyn Cherry. It has been a popular gathering space for the Liberty City community since it was first opened in 1970, as the park's NFL Y.E.T. Center recreation center has been, since it opened in 1996.
For more information about the dedication event or the facilities, the public should contact the park office directly at (305) 694-4889.
About the NFL Y.E.T. Center at Gwen Cherry Park
The National Football League (NFL) Youth Educational Town Center at Gwen Cherry Park in Liberty City is the result of the NFL's commitment to enhance the lives of at-risk youth in cities that host the Super Bowl. Miami-Dade County became the recipient of a Youth Educational Town (YET) Center after hosting Super Bowl XXIX.
The third of 15 Y.E.T. centers in the nation and the only NFL YET Center in Miami-Dade County, the facility originally cost $3.1 million dollars to build, which was funded by the NFL, the Super Bowl Host Committee of Miami and private funds raised through the United Way. On December 16, 1996, the NFL Y.E.T. Center at Gwen Cherry Park opened to the public.
About the Gwen Cherry Park Foundation
The Gwen Cherry Park Foundation is the fundraising arm for the NFL Youth Education Town (YET) located on Gwen Cherry Park. The Foundation's mission is to provide financial support to the academic, health, cultural, social, and athletic programming at the YET Miami. The Foundation's long term goal is to fully fund an endowment to guarantee adequate funding for YET Miami programming in perpetuity. The Gwen Cherry Park Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Mr. H. T. Smith is the Foundation's Board Chairman. For more information please visit: Gwen Cherry Park Foundation
About the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department:
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award and winner of the 2009 Florida Governor's Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 260 parks and 12,825 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world. Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; environmental restoration efforts; arts and culture programs and events; the renowned Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate at Cutler; the Crandon Tennis Center, home of the Sony Ericsson Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more. For information about Miami-Dade Parks call 3-1-1, or visit Miami-Dade Parks.
Miami-Dade Parks is supported by The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade a non-profit 501(c)3 organization supporting the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department's efforts to further develop Miami-Dade County's world-class parks system for residents and visitors. Its mission is to create a healthier, more livable and sustainable Miami community by ensuring the implementation of the Parks Open Space Master Plan and the development of year-round park and recreation programs for local children, adults and people with disabilities. For more information please visit Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade.
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