Tamiami Park Recreation Center serves special needs teenagers

Making a Difference: Rec center needs makeover

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MIAMI - Parks are places for sports and family gatherings. In these and many other ways, they are the cornerstone of a community. 

For some special needs teenagers in Miami-Dade County, the Tamiami Park Recreation Center serves as a second home and the staff as an extended family.

"Some of these children, we've had them since they were in second or third grade. Now, they are in high school," said Tamiami Park Disabilities Services Manager Lucy Binhack. "It's a really wonderful opportunity for them to socialize, to learn sports, to play games, to spend time with other kids in their neighborhood." 

A lot of time is spent at the park. The Tamiami Recreation Center is open during the summer, school breaks, and after school. Its programs are designed to serve about 25 kids, ages 6 through 21, with physical and developmental disabilities. With that kind of use and traffic, it's no wonder the decades old center is long overdue for a much needed update.

"The last time it was renovated was probably 10 to 15 years ago," said Binhack. "What we'd like to see there is a beautiful color on the walls, a new floor, and new ceiling tiles."

The center's designated quiet room is also screaming for attention. It's where the kids go for therapy and to do their homework. The broken or missing ceiling tiles, shabby sofa, and worn out desks all need to go.

"We'd like to see a new sink and new cabinetry that we can still use for storage," said Binhack. "We always have the funding to keep things safe; otherwise, we wouldn't keep them open, but aesthetic types of things, the Parks Department does not have the money to make things look prettier."

With your help, Local 10 News hopes to make a difference. The time has come for the Tamiami Park Recreation Center to undergo a makeover. It's a gift that's sure to leave a lasting impression.

Below is a wish list of the materials needed for the project. If you'd like to help, email us at share@local10.com.

  • Floor tiles
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Baseboards
  • Paint
  • Shelving
  • Storage cabinets
  • New sink, cabinets, and counters for kitchen area
  • Lighting
  • New refrigerator
  • Collapsible counter/desk along 22 ft wall
  • Provide maximum amount of open wire shelving for larger sports equipment with caged area to be locked
  • Chain link fencing with privacy slats to surround large play area behind building with pedestrian gate at rear of area: 90 by 70 ft
  • 5 wheelchair accessible picnic tables for this area
  • One flowering tree for the center of the outdoor play area
  • Cocoplum bushes around outside edge of fencing except in pedestrian gate area
  • Replace missing hibiscus bushes in hibiscus hedge outside entrance
  • 2 gaming chairs for small group room

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