Miami-Dade to turn strip malls into green space

County wants to put parks within walking distance of everyone

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - What do strip malls in foreclosure have to do with green spaces and farmers markets? The Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces department wants to turn the former into the latter.

It's part of a larger plan by the parks department to create a playing field, bike path or walking trail within walking distance of every resident.

"Those car lots, those strip malls, those places that have gone out of business in those commercial corridors, and converting those into a park-centric, mixed-use development," said Jack Kardys with the parks and recreation department.

The county wants to form a group of private investors, purchase about 10 acres of land in foreclosure, and use two or three of those acres to create immediate green space.

"Where you could have farmers markets, where you could really develop those sites and have a different quality of life experience for people," said Maria Nardi with Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation.

Ideally, the new park will draw in people, which will drive up the property value for the remaining acreage—making both the investors and the residents happy.

The county is now looking for deals. Parks and Recreation won't say where, but they are hoping to snag a spot near a bus stop, Metrorail station, by the Miami River, or in a lower income community. The county would like to purchase and develop a property within the year. If the first park works, the county will do the same in other areas.

Residents Local 10 spoke with are thrilled and say anything beats an abandoned property.

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