MIAMI-DAD COUNTY, Fla. - Henry Ford once said "coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." A public project is proving that to be true in North Miami-Dade.
On Thursday, what was once a neglected space at 885 NW 117th St. was moving closer to blooming into a Gratigny Plateau Park to be proud of.
Miller construction workers finished pouring concrete on the walking paths that were once messy vegetation and garbage. And if all goes as planned, the green dream -- inspired on the shape of a flower – will have fitness stations, walkways, a toddler playground and a butterfly garden.
The makeover magic is happening with funding from private donors, input from the community and plenty of volunteers' sweat under the hot Florida sun. The One and Only Local 10 News is spearheading the effort and viewers help is welcome.
"Because the project is based on volunteers' time and donors, something that would take six weeks is going to take us at least five to six more months to complete," said Marc Plancarte, of Miller Construction. "We still need help."
Decades ago property owners donated the three-lot that bisects Northwest 116th and 117th Streets at Eighth Avenue to Miami-Dade County under the condition that it would one day become a public park. But officials struggled to come up with development funds.
The construction began Jan. 16. Private donors like artist Romero Britto, Miller Construction, Woodland Construction, Architectural firm EDSA and Walgreens are part of the group effort.
"We've been asking the administration to find money to build a decent tot lot or put some other equipment in," said a frustrated County Commissioner Jean Monestime in 2012.
The project has come a long way since with the help of Monestime and Director of Miami-Dade Parks Recreation and Open Spaces Jack Kardys. But there is still a lot to be done.
"No one has donated the toddler playground," Plancarte said.
Local 10 News viewers can make donations through the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade website. With the help of Connect2Give, mobile phone users can text "Parks" to 501501 and donate $10. The amount is billed directly to the donor's phone bill and is 100 percent tax-deductible.
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