Miami Springs adding a playground to Ragan Park, and considers new fitness station

·3 min read
Theo Karantsalis/For the Miami Herald

The Miami Springs City Council approved a resolution on a 4-0 vote on Monday to install a $97,397.27 playground at Ragan Park.

“For years, we’ve been working to bring that side of Miami Springs to have the same amenities that have been provided in other areas,” Miami Springs Mayor Maria Mitchell said.

Miami Springs is a three-square-mile city, population 13,859, that sits north of Miami International Airport.

Ragan Park sits on less than an acre of land on the corner of Ragan and La Baron drives. New plans at the site include benches and “play structures” for children ages 2-12, according to the resolution.

“We live in a park-like setting here in Miami Springs and allowing our community an opportunity to enjoy that setting whenever they go out, we’re lucky,” Mitchell said.

Ragan Park is on the city’s east side, an area that includes hotel and “adult entertainment” districts. A crime surge in the region, which has 21 hotels, includes drug dealing, shootings, and prostitution. That led city leaders last year to propose hiring more police officers.

About a quarter mile south of the park, Miami Springs built eight-foot fences — spanning five blocks — to prevent pedestrians and vehicles from entering the city’s east side from Northwest 36th Street.

While officials have not yet said when the Ragan Park project would be completed, it could take up to 150 days, according to the project’s vendor, GameTime.

Ragan Park’s $97,397.27 upgrade includes a discount of $14,140.64, according to GameTime.

Another park-like project — fitness stations — may also be forthcoming, city officials announced at Monday’s council meeting.

“Recently, we received notification that we had been awarded the $30,000 grant,” City Manager William Alonso said. “As you can see the total cost of this court would be $185,000, less the $30,000 grant, for a net cost to the city of $155,000.”

A spokesperson for the San Francisco-based National Fitness Campaign gave an overview at the meeting via Zoom of the proposed project described as a “fitness court.” The project includes a mobile app, marketing kits, and training, according to the company’s budget overview.

“Omar and I agree that the best location for this court would be along the Curtiss Parkway median, probably near to the golf course parking area,” Alonso said.

Miami Springs has sought pricing information for “expanded graphics,” according to the “NFC 2022 Healthy City Grant Application” submitted last November by Miami Springs Recreation Director Omar Luna.

Aside from the fitness project’s $30,000 discount, its final price may rise upward of $13,500, depending on art and color options.

“So, like, if it only costs five thousand extra dollars for them to make it a color, I would want it to be something that maybe promotes some kind of public art that promotes the city,” said Councilman Walter Fajet.

It is unclear whether the proposed fitness project’s art or color options will comply with the city’s color palette, or if its art scheme meets code regulations since the City of Miami Springs recently banned murals.

Fajet is a school administrator on the city’s east side who voted for the mural ban. However, at a special meeting in April, he voted to allow a teacher’s union art mural.

“So, we’ll go ahead, if the council is in agreement, looking forward for finding a possibility of getting this done for our residents,” Miami Springs Mayor Maria Mitchell said.

NFC requires a “resolution of adoption” which must be done “as soon as possible,” the company’s requirements say.

If city leaders approve the fitness station project, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is estimated to take place in November 2022.

“When you are outdoors, you get to meet your neighbors,” Mitchell said.

Next city meeting

The next Miami Springs City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. June 13 at 201 Westward Dr.

Theo Karantsalis can be reached at karantsalis@bellsouth.net.

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