Jahwaun Burrows, Sienom Auxaire and Stephanie Baptiste are some of the children in the Miami-Dade Pinewood neighborhood who have been waiting for Gratigny Plateau Park to open.
Jahwaun, 10, wants to use the park to be fit and achieve his dream of becoming a professional basketball player. Sienom, 12, wants to use it to lose weight, so he can get a girlfriend. Stephanie, 7, hopes to be able to show it to her mom one day. Stephanie's mom lives in Haiti.
"We have been waiting for this park for a long time," Trinikia Durham, 36, who grew up in the neighborhood said. Jahwaun is Durham's son. "At least now he is going to be able to play there safely."
INVITATION: Block party at 5 p.m.
The new park opened Wednesday afternoon. It adopted the out-door gym trend with new fitness machines. Since the neighborhood doesn't have side walks, the park has a pathway in the shape of a flower for cardiovascular exercise. The center of the flower has a butterfly garden.
Decades ago, the owners of the three-part lot donated it to Miami-Dade County under the condition that it be developed as a public park. Due to lack of funding, the land remained unused.
In 2012, The One and Only Local 10 News stepped in. For two years, Local 10 News focused on developing a public and private partnership.
The partnership proved to be successful. A team of volunteers and donors turned the once magnet for parked cars and garbage into a space that Jahwaun, Sienom, Stephanie and other kids in the neighborhood will be able to use.
The opening ceremony was open to the public at 885 NW 117th St. There was music and Publix Supermarket served refreshments. For more information about the park, call 305-694-4889.
More about the park:
About the project: Idea was born in 2012
About the partners: Dozens of businesses
About the garden: Plants attract butterflies
About the concept: Fresh-air fitness
Project timeline: Two years of progress reports
About the children: Their vision
Meet 8-year-old Stephanie: For her, the park is a place to dream
Meet 10-year-old Jahwaun: He plans to get fit for NBA dream
Meet 12-year-old Sienom: He plans on using park to lose weight
SPECIAL SECTION: Complete coverage of Gratigny Plateau Park project