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Recreation and Culture

Recreation and Culture

It is important that Miami-Dade County develop, promote and preserve outstanding cultural, recreational, library and natural experiences and opportunities for residents and visitors of this and future generations for two major reasons: (1) we can be proud that our community offers families and children outstanding opportunities second to none in the nation to expand their creative and recreational needs, and (2) our superb cultural facilities and activities give us the competitive edge for attracting commerce and tourism, which is essential for creating more jobs and economic prosperity.

  • To help address the epidemic of teen deaths through gun violence, the Office of the Mayor and Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (PROS), launched the Fit2Lead At-Risk Youth Program. Fit2Lead is a national model for park-based programs serving at-risk youth, and is also a unique partnership between PROS, Juvenile Services Department, the University of Miami, Florida International University and Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The goal is to provide positive alternatives for at-risk youth by mentoring and providing safe places to play in parks. Through this program, 98 teens ages 15-17 years old, earned a paycheck as part-time employees and learned valuable leadership and life skills through enrichment classes that focused on goal setting, communication skills, and managing budgets. For preteens, ages 12-14, the Youth Enrichment Sports program provided 354 participants with a free after school program that included tutoring, sports and enrichment sessions and a healthy meal.
  • PROS Rx 4Health is a health prescription program where pediatricians write prescriptions to the Fit2Play® program for overweight, obese, or inactive patients, or those beginning to show symptoms or signs. This program was developed in partnership with the University of Miami’s UHealth, Miami-Dade County Department of Health, Baptist Hospital and Florida International University.
  • Zoo Miami opened its new $19 million, 1.5 acre Entry Plaza and welcomed back the iconic flock of flamingos into their new exhibit. The new plaza features a 3D Zoo Miami sculptural sign, 24 colorful life-size animal silhouettes, new ticketing offices, gift shop, sales and event building with rental facilities and an illuminated Zoo Miami tower with informational LED screens at its base-all partially shaded by a “cloud-like” roof structure.
  • In addition, Zoo Miami’s Florida: Mission Everglades Exhibit a $33 million exhibit opened allowing the public to enjoy Florida native birds, crocodiles, alligators, otters, bears and panthers in their native environments. Along with walking through the native habitats, visitors will also be able to enjoy a leisurely boat ride through the exhibits.
  • West Perrine Park Family Aquatic Center was completed in 2016. This $6 million center is the first designated 'mini water park' in the PROS system, complete with walk-in swimming pools, water-in-motion playgrounds with waterslides and a spacious bath house.
  • Amelia Earhart Park Soccer Complex broke ground in 2016 and consists of two natural turf fields, a new walkway and two new shaded bleacher pads as part of the complex.
  • PROS, in partnership with the Trust for Public Land and with a grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida, installed an ADA-accessible Fitness Zone® at Cherry Grove Park. The Fitness Zone® consists of 14 pieces of easy-to-use gym equipment designed for cardio and strength training and wheelchair workouts.
  • PROS completed 23 Adopt-A-Park projects resulting in 5,942 volunteer hours, a value of $111,500 in volunteer service dollars and $62,500 of monetary donations and grants.
  • The Deering Estate, one of seven Heritage Parks in the PROS park system, celebrated 30 years of registry on the National Register of Historic Places list. In partnership with the state and local Office of Historic Preservation, completed Phase 1 Archeological Survey and Assessment of the Deering Estate, recorded 11 new archeological sites spanning over 14,000 years of history, recorded 17 terrestrial caves, and awarded $265,000 in grant funds for a Phase 2 survey of the property to begin in Summer 2017.
  • Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) continues to expand its reach and the patrons it serves with 50 branch locations.

    o MDPLS reopened the California Club Branch in March 2016, bringing library services back to the residents of the Ives Estates community, including a full interior renovation, a wider selection of library resources, and upgraded technology, such as new desktop computers and a gaming area.

    o MDPLS celebrated the grand opening of the Bay Harbor Islands Branch Library.

    o MDPLS also expanded operating hours and added additional staffing at all five regional libraries and the Main Library. The public is once again able to enjoy increased access to library services, and continue to enjoy seven day a week service at our regional libraries; additionally, MDPLS continued to improve its collection by offering more adult and children’s best-sellers, and expanded its digital content collection, including downloadable e-books, movies, and music.

  • MDPLS, in conjunction with the Information Technology Department, continued to help bridge the digital divide in our community by upgrading our network infrastructure and available bandwidth, providing faster internet and Wi-Fi connections to our patrons. Additionally, MDPLS upgraded approximately 700 aging public computers to ensure patrons have access to the latest technology; additionally, training in areas such as basic digital literacy classes in Internet, email, Microsoft Office and social media were provided to our patrons throughout the year.
  • MDPLS was awarded 30 scholarships for the State of Florida’s Career Online High School Program, helping adults 19 year of age and older earn a private high school diploma and career certification in areas like office management and homeland security through the library.
  • Regulatory and Economic Resources celebrated the 34th anniversary of the Baynanza Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day, the largest shoreline cleanup in South Florida. More than 5,400 volunteers cleaned up 38.5 tons of trash from the shorelines of Biscayne Bay. Of the 38.5 tons of trash collected, 4.8 tons were sent to a recycling facility.
  • The Department of Cultural Affairs (CUA) opened the Sandrell Rivers Theater in the Audrey Edmonson Transit Village. As part of the innovative mixed-use development including affordable housing, a transit hub and retail, the Sandrell Rivers Theater opened in 2016 in this complex located at NW 7th Avenue and 62nd Street in Liberty City. Consisting of a 200-seat studio theater, rehearsal/community room and front and back of house spaces, this state-of-the art cultural center is being managed through a partnership between the CUA and two outstanding non-profit arts groups, Fantasy Theater Factory, a company dedicated to children and family programming, and The M Ensemble Company, one of the best African-American theater companies in the Southeastern United States.
  • Through the CUA arts education and outreach programs, 229,510 children and their families benefitted from arts activities.
  • Culture Shock Miami offers thousands of $5 tickets for high school and college students, ages 13-22 to experience cultural activities in an easy and affordable way. The program witnessed an increase of 13 percent in ticket sales from 12,060 in 2014-2015 to 13,611 2015-2016. In addition, 7,287 students, teachers and community members were reached through free outreach performances and workshops offered in collaboration with Caleb Auditorium, Miami-Dade Public School System’s Cultural Passport Program, Miami-Dade County Auditorium, and the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, bringing the program’s total reach to 20,898, an increase of 71 percent in audience reach from the 2014-2015 cultural season. Since its inception, the program has sold more than 81,185 tickets to high school and college students.
  • CUA also published and distributed the Golden Ticket Arts Guide, which provides free admission to cultural venues and performances to senior citizens. In 2016, 17,000 guides were provided free-of-charge to senior citizens ages 62 and older, featuring hundreds of free cultural events presented by more than 52 participating local cultural and arts organizations.
  • CUA’s nationally acclaimed Art in Public Places program continues to emphasize the power of public art to make public buildings great. Three major new art commissions demonstrate how artists can distinguish Miami-Dade County facilities by integrating their work into important project building elements:
    • Artist David Brooks designed the entire façade of Animal Services’ new Pet Adoption and Protection Center and artists team Carlos Betancourt and Alberto Latorre created the entrance lobby and pet adoption promenade, transforming this former tile warehouse into a magical place for parents and kids to find the next, furry addition to their families.
    • Zoo Miami’s expansion features major public art works by artist Mikyoung Kim, who designed the lyrically misting plaza to the new zoo entrance, and artist Matthew Geller, who created an interactive children’s water playground with a tropical Everglades motif.
    • The Art in Public Places completed a restoration of the iconic Miami Line, the line of colored neon lights that spanned the Metrorail bridge over the Miami River. The fragile, oft-damaged neon fixtures were replaced with more durable LED lights, restoring the work to the identical specifications of its artist, Rockne Krebs. Once again, this multi-colored line of lights serves as a gateway image for residents and visitors.
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