Miami-Dade County Parks will join Miami-Dade County District 2 Commissioner Jean Monestime in unveiling the new ''Sidney Wynn Park at Arcola'' on Thursday, January 30, at 3:00 p.m.
(MIAMI, January 24, 2014) - The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department will join Miami-Dade County District 2 Commissioner Jean Monestime at 3:00 p.m., on Thursday, January 30, 2014, to officially dedicate the newly named “Sidney Wynn Park at Arcola” (formerly Arcola Park), located at 1680 NW 87 Street in Miami. The event will also introduce the park’s newly named recreation center (“Plenty Whitehead Recreation Building”) and newly named roadway (“Lawrence ‘Pop’ McKenzie Way”) located on NW 17 Ave, between NW 84 Street and NW 88 Street. These sites were named in honor of three former Parks Department employees for significant lifetime contributions to the Arcola community and this park. These namings are the result of resolutions sponsored by Commissioner Monestime and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners.
“These three individuals show us that we can truly make a difference in the lives that we touch. This great park is a reflection of their passion for community service and dedication in serving the recreational needs of county residents. As former county employees and citizens they are an inspiration to all,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.
“I am truly honored to be able to present these tributes on behalf of the residents of this community. Together these individuals have helped unite this neighborhood and have made this park a welcome site for neighbors and their children to gather and socialize for years to come. Such distinctions could not be more appropriate or well-deserved,” said Commissioner Monestime.
“We take great pride in honoring our Parks Department comrades in this way. Their positive actions for this park will long be remembered by fellow employees and the many families of this close-knit community. We are forever grateful for their contributions,” said Miami-Dade County Parks Director Jack Kardys.
In addition to the recreation center, the four-acre park has two lighted basketball courts, a lighted baseball field and a walking path open for public use. For more information about programs and activities at the new Sidney Wynn Park at Arcola, the public can call 305-835-7987.
About Sidney Wynn:
A former Coconut Grove resident, Wynn distinguished himself as a prominent multi-sport athlete-competitor, as well as a pioneer and role model for Miami-Dade’s African-American community. Among his accomplishments, he was a long-time Miami-Dade Parks manager for the former Arcola Park and founder of the Miami Golf Connection, an amateur golf club which is now part of the Sunshine State Amateur Golf Association. In the ‘40s and ‘50s he played professional baseball for such legendary black baseball teams as the Coconut Grove Spiders, the Miami Giants, Palatka Blue
Caps and the Kansas City Monarchs – where he fielded alongside baseball greats like Hank Aaron, John “Buck” O’Neil and Josh Gibson (known as “the black Babe Ruth”). In earlier years, he also worked as a lifeguard on Virginia Key Beach. He also played ball for the Florida Normal and Industrial Institute’s baseball/football teams (now Florida Memorial University), and the 3rd US Army Quartermaster Corps baseball team during World War II. Wynn succumbed to cancer on November 22, 2008. He is survived by his son Vincent.
About Plenty Whitehead:
Whitehead ran a successful Miami-Dade landscaping business for more than 35 years and worked part-time for the Parks Department as a night custodian at Arcola Park, taking great pride in making sure the recreation facilities remained clean for park patrons and employees. Among his civic service, he was Treasurer for Northside Optimist Club, Commissioner of Sports for the Miami-Dade County Youth League and Deacon for St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church. Born in Unadilla, Georgia during the Great Depression, he relocated to Miami at age 20 with his family in search of better work. Still residing in Miami, he and his wife Susie have been married for 58 years and they have two daughters.
About Lawrence “Pop” McKenzie:
McKenzie was a long-time Miami-Dade teacher and Parks Department employee. He spent much of his time at Arcola Park where he was a frequent and important presence. He served in the US Air Force and graduated from Miami-Dade’s Booker T. Washington Senior High (1950) and Florida International University (1975) with a Bachelor’s degree in education. McKenzie passed away on August 23, 2008 and is survived by his wife Retha and their four children.
About the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department:
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award, winner of the 2013 Florida Governor’s Sustained Excellence Award and the 2009 Florida Governor’s Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade County 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 Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more. For information about Miami-Dade County Parks call 3-1-1, or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks/.
Miami-Dade County Parks is supported by The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade a non-profit 501(c)3 organization supporting the Miami-Dade County 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 on the Parks Foundation, please visit www.miamidade.gov/parks_foundation.
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