News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
April 02, 2014
Media Contact:
Laura Phillips

Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Michael Diberardinis and NRPA President Barbara Tulipane among National Speakers at the 2014 Great Park Summit

Residents Invited to Join the Discussion and Share Ideas on the “Transformation of Miami-Dade County through Parks and Public Spaces” in Person and on Twitter

(MIAMI, April 2, 2014) - The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces Department, in partnership with The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, will host the 2014 Great Park Summit presented by AvMed, on Friday, April 4, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road, in Coral Gables. 


The theme of this year’s Summit is: Parks and Public Spaces as Catalysts for Greener, Healthier, More Economically Vibrant Communities.  The interactive symposium will focus on existing and future opportunities to transform Miami-Dade County into a more vibrant and livable community.  National and local leaders will look at what has and is being done in major markets throughout the country to achieve the goal of improving the health, social wellbeing, economy, and environment of those communities, leveraging parks and open spaces.  Miami-Dade County will be the primary focus of the event and will be analyzed as a community ripe for such a transformation.


Special guest speakers include: City of Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Michael DeBerardinis; National Recreation & Parks Association President Barbara Tulipane; Knight Foundation Community and National Initiatives Vice President Carol Coletta; Miami Foundation Programs Officer Stuart Kennedy; New Orleans Director of Parks & Parkways Ann MacDonald; University of North Carolina Professor and Former National Park Services Deputy Director Mickey Fearn; and GirlTrek Founder and Director Vanessa Garrison.    


“Parks and public spaces are an essential part of every community’s life force, because natural resources and recreation programs positively impact the public good, influencing the public health and wellness, its economy and environment,” said National Recreation & Parks Association President Barbara Tulipane.  “This is a vital conversation that every community, large and small, should be having particularly in light of limited resources and strained economies, because parks reach every neighborhood and improve lives.”  


New this year will be afternoon break-out sessions on topics including: Placemaking; Health, Wellness & Fitness; the Environment; and Million Trees Miami.  Following the discussion groups, guests can choose to participate in two activities – a volunteer tree planting at Matheson Hammock Park provided by the Tropical Audubon Society and Toyota TogetherGreen, or a leisure bike ride on Old Cutler Road provided by Mack Cycle & Fitness.


Being touted as an interactive symposium, attendees will also be asked to share their ideas, along with those unable to attend, via Twitter using #ParkSummit14.  There will be a live Twitter feed on display at the Summit for all attendees to see.  The public can use it to see what engaged participants are saying and share their ideas about the future of Miami-Dade County through the lens of park and public spaces.


“The Great Park Summit will create dynamic opportunities to foster even greater collaboration between local and out-of-state public and private partners, and residents who share the desire to make this community greater by improving its quality of life through its internationally renowned parks and open spaces, which include our beaches,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “We’re excited to share the impact that the Miami-Dade County Parks and Open Space System Master Plan is having and how it is improving the community’s health, its environment and economy.”


“Innovative design, planning and stewardship of public space is what the Great Park Summit is all about,” said Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys. “Together, in partnership with private and public sector partners and local municipalities, Miami-Dade County is working to create a seamless and sustainable parks system for this and future generations.  Our vision is to connect people and parks for life, because parks stimulate healthy living.”


"AvMed is committed to the health and wellness of the Miami-Dade County community where so many of our employees and members live and work," said James M. Repp, AvMed Senior Vice President.  "AvMed is delivering a unique member experience that’s built on the concept of healthy living. We applaud the undeniably important role parks play in that effort."


As a prelude to the Summit, Miami-Dade Parks will host a private mayors’ dinner with various local mayors, including Miami-Dade County Mayor Gimenez, to discuss the Summit’s topics, prevalent health issues and solutions through parks and recreation, featuring guest speakers: Florida Surgeon General John H. Armstrong, MD; Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett; AvMed Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Ann O. Wehr, MD; IBM Public Sector Client Executive Emily Loos; Miami-Dade County Health Department Administrator Dr. Lillian Rivera, RN, MSN, PhD; Miami Foundation President and CEO Javier Soto; and Parks Foundation President Dick Anderson. **The Mayors’ Dinner is closed to the public.


Sponsors of the 2014 Great Park Summit include: AvMed; IBM; Broyhill Inc.; The Conrad Hotel; AECOM; Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden; Fit2Go; Gilly Vending; Health Foundation of South Florida; Holland & Knight; Kimley-Horn and Associates; Mack Cycle and Fitness; MDX; Milian Swain & Associates; Miami-Dade County Health Department; PCL Construction; Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade; Rep Services; Tropical Audubon Society, the University of Miami; and URS. 


The Great Park Summit is open to professionals from local and state agencies, landscape architects, planners, environmental organizations, patrons of arts, businesses, universities, and the construction, engineering, architecture and urban planning arenas; and is FREE to the public.  Seating is limited, and registration is required.  For more information, please contact John Gouthro at (305) 755-7868.  To register for the event RSVP at:


Held once every two years, the Great Park Summit is designed to further the implementation of the Parks and Open Space System Master Plan (OSMP), a 50-year vision for connecting Miami-Dade County communities through parks, public spaces, natural and cultural areas, greenways, waterways, and streets.  The OSMP is being implemented through policies which were adopted as part of the Recreation and Open Space Element of the Comprehensive Development Master Plan in 2010.  Several of the policies have been completed through funding from the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant administered by the Miami-Dade Health Department and through partnerships with staff of the Sustainability, Planning and Economic Enhancement Department and Public Works and Waste Management Department. For more information, visit


About AvMed:

AvMed has been providing health care coverage to Florida citizens and businesses for over 40 years, serving large and small employers in most major markets around the state. AvMed provides Medicare Advantage products in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, and Individual coverage in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. For more information about AvMed, visit


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


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