The City of Miami Springs City Council held a workshop meeting on Wednesday to discuss different ideas for future projects for the City.¬† Here’s a rundown of some of the projects that were discussed.

Future Projects in Miami Springs

Prince Field Shade Structures:  $90,000

Description: Adding three shade structures at baseball fields at Prince Field.

Status:  Pending determination of available funds in ARPA

Batting Cages:  $50,000

Description: Two new batting cages at Stafford Park and Prince Field.

Status:  Engineering calculations are complete. Pending determination of available funds in ARPA.

Curtiss Parkway Parking Pavers:  $88,000

Description:  Adding pavers to the existing paved area on the first block of Curtiss median(west side) and adding pavers on the entire east side.

Status:  Plans are being reviewed by Miami-Dade County and pending approval

Curtiss Mansion Irrigation System:  $40,000

Description: Installation of irrigation system on Mansion property.

Status:¬†¬†Curtiss Mansion, Inc. issued a Request For Proposal…waiting for results.

Westward Tree Lighting:  $40,000

Westward Drive Christmas Decorations
Westward Drive Christmas Decorations

Description:  Adding electrical capacity to add lights to trees on Westward from Park Street to Esplanade.

Status:  Pending determination of available funds in ARPA.

Pool Shades:  $75,000

Description:¬†¬†Adding shade to the lounge area near the kiddie splash pad (They finally realized parents can’t watch small kids from the picnic area?)¬† And adding shade to the south side of the pool.¬† (Again, fixing what has always been a poorly designed pool that is only a shell of its former self.¬† We really miss the ability to swim laps at the old pool.¬† The current pool is unusable for swimmers with jobs.¬† The pool is too crammed in the evenings to swim laps and has been the biggest downgrade project in the community.)

Overhead view of the old Olympic Sized Competition Pool we used to enjoy in Miami Springs
Overhead view of the old Olympic Sized Competition Pool we used to enjoy in Miami Springs

Status:  Pending determination of available funds in ARPA.

Stafford Walking Path with Lights:  $250,000

Description:¬†¬†It appears this project will redo the jogging path surrounding Stafford Park with some much needed path lighting.¬† Due to the steep price tag, we’re assuming this also includes some drainage improvements to solve the constant flooding that occurs on the path.¬† Can they also add more trees to increase the natural beauty and shading of the jogging path?

Status:  Pending determination of available funds in ARPA.

Stafford Exercise Stations:  $100,000

Status:  Pending determination of available funds in ARPA.

Peavey Dove Fencing / Renovate T-Ball Fields:  $200,000

UPDATE:  We received confirmation that the plan is to upgrade existing fencing, but the park itself will remain open and not fenced in.  This is positive news for residents who enjoy accessing this park when the other parks are closed.  

Description:¬†¬†It appears the City of Miami Springs wants to fence in yet another park.¬† In addition to fences looking horrendous, this is the only park that’s open when the other two parks are locked.¬† This is the only park we can go and practice playing soccer when the other fields are closed.¬† While we support upgrading the T-Ball Fields, we adamantly oppose fencing in Peavey Dove Field.¬† The City of Miami Springs has regularly locked the other fields on holidays and weekends at times where parents can take their kids to the park.¬† Adding a fence to this park will limit your access to the park.¬† Plain and simple.¬† Please say no to more fences around our parks.¬† The parks should be for every resident, not just the organized teams.

Status:  Pending determination of available funds in ARPA.

Dog Park Improvements:  $90,500

Miami Springs Dog Park
Miami Springs Dog Park

Description:¬†¬†There was no description posted by the City of Miami Springs of what’s included in the Dog Park improvements.¬† I might support it if we’re talking about adding more trees and beautifying the area, but it’s unclear what they want to do.

Status:  Pending determination of available funds in ARPA.

Rio Vista Park Improvements:  unknown

Description:  There is no immediate plan for this park.  Rio Vista Park is the most underutilized Miami Springs public park.  We would love to see an unfenced beach volleyball court on this property.  What do you think?

Rio Vista Park Miami Springs, Florida
Rio Vista Park Miami Springs, Florida

Status:  Pending determination of available funds in ARPA.

OTHER FUTURE PROJECTS:

The City Administration listed the following projects as potential future projects for our community.¬† Which interest you and which don’t?

New City Hall / Police Facility

There’s no doubt City Hall is very outdated.¬† Furthermore, the Police Facility is tiny for a growing Police force.¬† (Thank you 36th Street / LeJeune Hotels for the added crime.)

Miami Springs City Hall
Miami Springs City Hall

It would be a whole lot easier to justify a new City Hall and Police Station if we were to successfully annex the area to our west.  In my humble opinion, the Public Works trucks and the Public Works facility would be moved to a property in the annexation area along with a Police Substation.  Then, we could knock down the Public Works Building and replace it with a new Police Station. That would help to modernize and beautify South Royal Poinciana Boulevard while keeping the Police in the heart of the City of Miami Springs.  It would also free up parking currently used by Police Cruisers in the parking lot adjacent to Park Street.  Plus it would would free up space for the City Administration.  What do you think?

Of course, this all makes sense if annexation had become reality.  Unfortunately, our Miami-Dade Commissioner, that is supposed to represent the will of the people he represents, Commissioner Kevin Cabrera, has not supported the City of Miami Springs efforts to annex the Milam Dairy tract to our west.  So moving Public Works along with a Police Substation to NW 72nd Avenue becomes a mute point.

That leads me to another idea that I received from a prominent local resident.¬† His idea is to completely rethink the Country Club building.¬† Our current Country club is nice inside, but it’s exterior design is just plain and utilitarian.¬† Let’s be honest, it’s not winning any design awards.¬† Its’ even more frustrating when you look at the past and see that we used to have a multi-story Country Club.¬† I know not everybody loves the Pueblo Revival style that our founder, Glenn Curtiss, envisioned.¬† Nevertheless, when you look at the original Country Club building, it’s far grander than what we have today.¬† It features a three story tower with rooftop access.¬† It also includes a broad exterior walkway on the second floor and covered patio / walkway on the first floor.¬† One can only imagine the beautiful sweeping views of the golf course from that second story vantage point.

Original Historic Miami Springs Country Club Building
Original Historic Miami Springs Country Club Building

So the idea is this.¬† If we’re going to build a new City Hall.¬† Why not take the time to build a beautiful new, multi-story structure, with sweeping views of the golf course, at the current Country Club location.¬† We’re talking about a multi-use facility that could include city administration offices, city council chambers, a grander country club with a grand staircase, a new pro-shop for golf and tennis, a modernized garage for the golf carts,¬† a new restaurant, bar and kitchen (including a window / exterior bar for the patrons in the covered patio.¬† Plus everyone knows the bathroom facilities are outdated and not what you expect to see at a grand establishment.

The Miami Open PGA Golf Tournament from 1951 at the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club (featuring the original Country Club) from Miami News article July 7, 1952. Photo courtesy of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida.
The Miami Open PGA Golf Tournament from 1951 at the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club (featuring the original Country Club) from Miami News article July 7, 1952. Photo courtesy of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida.

Folks, the City of Miami Springs is already investing millions in new golf course improvements.¬† It’s time to bring the grandeur back to Miami Springs and build a new Country Club that is fit for hosting grand events for celebrities and billionaires…like Glenn Curtiss would be if he were alive today.

Photo taken January 4, 1927 at the Miami Springs Golf Course featuring the Original Pueblo Revival style Country Club
Photo taken January 4, 1927 at the Miami Springs Golf Course featuring the Original Pueblo Revival style Country Club

What do you think?  Should City Hall be moved to a new facility at the Country Club?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or via social media.

Curtiss C 46 Commando over Miami Springs Country Club 1943 ‚Äď Photo Courtesy Miami Springs Historical Society

I will add this.  For those of us who have fought a life long battle to protect the golf course, I like the idea of our city leaders physically looking at and enjoying that view daily.  It might make them think twice of ever taking it away.

Tennis Courts / Pickleball Courts / Racquetball Courts at Country Club 

Tennis Courts

The Coral Gables Golf Course has beautiful tennis courts on the same property.  Same thing at the Doral Golf Course.  It makes perfect sense for Miami Springs to move the tennis facilities to the Country Club.  We support this initiative for several reasons.

  • Adding Tennis to the Golf Course will increase golf play
  • Adding Tennis to the Golf Course will increase tennis play
  • Adding Tennis to the Golf Course will increase patronage at the pro-shop, restaurant, and bar
  • This is a true win-win for the community.

Outdoor Basketball Courts

If we move the tennis courts to the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club, then the obvious thing to do with the old tennis courts is to transform them into outdoor basketball courts.

In the old days, before school shootings and greedy lawyers suing schools for ticky tack injuries on school grounds, the school playgrounds used to be open to the public.  Meaning anyone could play hoops at Miami Springs Senior High or Springview Elementary.  Growing up, the school playgrounds only enhanced the park access we all enjoyed.

Well, in case you didn’t know, that access is no longer available.¬† Meaning, there’s no place for an outdoor pickup basketball game anymore.¬† And let’s be honest, the rec center is not the place for a pickup game, because it’s being utilized during the most convenient times for hard working people.¬† The idea of transforming the tennis courts to basketball courts makes perfect sense to us.

New Parking Garage

And then people wonder why we made such a big deal about parking and the lack thereof from the new project at One Curtiss Parkway.¬† The City Administration gave public parking away for free to the developers only to come back around and say, “Oh.¬† We want the residents to help pay for a new parking garage.”¬† There’s no doubt we need a garage, but the city administrators failed at protecting the residents when they allowed the project at One Curtiss Parkway to move forward with insufficient parking.¬† If the City of Miami Springs would have established a parking fee as set forth in the Gateway Overlay District Ordinance, they could have collected at least a million dollars that could be used to fund new parking initiatives like a parking garage.

So while this is a needed project, I’m not crazy about Miami Springs residents paying for it when the City Administration could have required funding from the developers at One Curtiss Parkway.

Did the City Lose Over a Million Dollars By Not Establishing a Fee?

Stormwater Master Plan

Stormwater drainage has definitely improved over the decades.¬† But it’s something that must be constantly monitored and improved upon.¬† We still have areas that flood and inconvenience residents.¬† Those areas need to be addressed to improve the quality of life for all residents.

Sidewalks

The City wants to seek additional funding to improve sidewalk connectivity.¬† In our humble opinion, if residents want a sidewalk on their home and the city wants to pay for it, great.¬† But I know many residents with homes that don’t have sidewalks that want to keep it that way.¬† They prefer the green area and trees over a long linear concrete slab.

Rather than investing in sidewalks, we’d like to see more speed humps to keep our streets safe and slow down speeders.¬† I’ve always loved that walking along our streets has been safe.¬† Let’s keep our streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

Let’s start by adding speed humps at every school zone and around our parks.

Wi-Fi in Open Spaces

We support the initiative.  Hey, more connectivity means more readers at MiamiSprings.com, right?  All kidding aside, this is generally a good idea, but how much will it cost?

Recreation Master Plan

We see no major costs in coming up with a plan.  Go for it.

Flood and Erosion Control Projects

These are the boring projects no one really cares about until the area is flooded and the water in the canal isn’t draining fast enough.

5-10 Year Strategic Plan

They City wants to hire a 3rd party to develop a 5-10 year strategic plan.¬† I have a problem with this one.¬† Do we lack the professional capacity within City Hall to create a 5 year plan for the city?¬† If we need to go outside for this, then what the heck are we paying the people at city hall to do?¬† I love the idea of a long term strategic plan.¬† It’s absolutely needed.¬† However, I’m puking at thinking we lack the in-house leadership and capability of putting a plan together on paper.¬† I hope the new City Manager has the leadership qualities, listening qualities, and grand vision necessary to produce an in-house 5-10 year plan together.

Project Suggestions from Mayor Mitchell

Miami Springs Mayor Maria Mitchell
Photo courtesy the City of Miami Springs.

Mayor Mitchell shared some of her suggestions for future projects for the City of Miami Springs.¬† Let’s review:

Overnight Parking Restrictions

Say what you will, but Mayor Mitchell is a tough cookie.¬† She wants to look at preventing overnight parking throughout the city in front of commercial buildings.¬† We see this happening at the Office Depot.¬† But we also know it’s going to happen along Canal Street and downtown Curtiss Parkway.

This project is on hold until the Council receives the results from the Parking Study.

City Advisory Boards

Mayor Mitchell wants to get a little stricter about board membership and being consistent about the date and time the boards meet.

Collaboration with Miami International Airport

We love the idea of building a closer relationship with our neighbor to the south, Miami International Airport.¬† This is a great idea in terms of promoting aviation, shared history, lifestyle and residential living opportunities for employees, lodging options for tourists, dining options for employees and tourists, etc. etc.¬† Again, we believe Mayor Mitchell’s efforts to build a better relationship with our neighbors is a positive effort.

Bed Tax

Mayor Mitchell once again brought up the issue of Bed Taxes and Air BNB Taxes that the County collects, but the City of Miami Springs does not collect.¬† The City of Miami Springs is attempting to add its own bed tax above and beyond the County’s bed tax in order to raise revenues to help pay for the additional police services the city is experiencing.¬† At the workshop meeting, Commissioner Fajet brought up the fact that the bed tax would help every municipality, not just those with lots of hotels. He brought up that every municipality has homes that are being used as an Airbnb and that those rooms are potentially taxable.

Councilwoman Bravo’s Suggestions

Jacky Bravo

NW 36 Street Use Changes 

We all know that 36 Street Hotels have been a source of crime.¬† Bravo’s idea is to change the charter provisions to improve aesthetics, reduce crime, and increase retail.¬† She was advocating for no more hotels along NW 36th Street.¬† Clearly the hotels have been a source of problems for Miami Springs.¬† Commissioner Fajet stated “I don’t want to double down on hotels.”

We like the fact that Bravo and Fajet are thinking of different options to reduce crime along NW 36th Street.  However, the hotels are already there and they are not going anywhere anytime soon.  So, how do we fix it without a new bed tax?

New Legislation to Fine Excessive Use of Law Enforcement

Bravo also brought up that we need to either use existing law or create new legislation in order to penalize property owners that continue to incur Police expenses.¬† She had a lot of pushback from the attorneys regarding the ability to enforce our existing legislation.¬† Bravo retorted that she wanted to “invent another way around” in order for the city to get more aggressive on facilities that have excessive calls on the police.¬† It’s unclear what kind of solution will come from the legal team, but I suspect the City Attorney will receive a vote of confidence if the attorneys come up with an effective way of legally combatting the problem hotels.

Glenn Curtiss Monument

Plaque honoring Glenn Curtiss, the "Father of Naval Aviation" at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida
Plaque honoring Glenn Curtiss, the “Father of Naval Aviation” at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida

Bravo wants to look for grants and other funding sources to place life sized statue of Glenn Curtiss.¬† We couldn’t agree more.¬† Especially as we approach the Centennial of the City of Miami Springs, it would be amazing to have life-sized statue unveiled on Miami Springs property.¬† We couldn’t agree more with Commissioner Bravo and wish her Godspeed in making this initiative come to reality.

Glenn Curtiss Deserves a Statue in Miami Springs

Life Sized Replica of the June Bug

We love this idea and can’t thank Commissioner Bravo for championing the idea.¬† The concept is pretty simple.¬† A life sized replica of the June Bug, the first plane flown in public to exceed a kilometer in flying distance.¬† The June Bug was built and flown by the great inventor and daredevil, Glenn Hammond Curtiss.¬† Of course, Curtiss is the founder of the City of Miami Springs.¬† Again, Bravo’s goal is to commemorate the achievements of our founder, Glenn Curtiss, while also educating and inspiring our youth.¬† As for funding, Bravo suggested using our grant writer to look for applicable grant opportunities to turn this concept into a reality.

Glenn Curtiss atop the June Bug Flyer (the first public flight over 1km)
Glenn Curtiss atop the June Bug Flyer (the first public flight over 1km)

Replace the Gazebo with a Pueblo Styled Bandstand

Most Miami Springs residents have a positive view of our existing Gazebo on the Circle.¬† It’s become an iconic symbol for Miami Springs since it replaced the fountains in the early 80s.

Miami Springs Gazebo Dedication August 29, 1982

However, while the Gazebo is cute and quaint, it’s not particularly unique.¬† There are lots of Gazebos found in South Florida and across the country.

Miami Springs Band Stand
Miami Springs Band Stand

Furthermore, it’s not an ideal space for hosting live performances.¬† It’s actually too small for hosting live band performances.¬† Furthermore, the Gazebo’s location in the center of the Circle cuts in half the amount of space that can be used by audiences that want to watch a live performance.¬† This is exemplified every year during the River Cities Festival where a large trailer is brought in to host a stage on the south side of the Circle.¬† That ultimately provides plenty of space for the band and plenty of space for the crowd.

Circle Bandstand
Circle Bandstand

Councilwoman Bravo suggested replacing the Gazebo with a larger bandstand that would be large enough to host a band and public performances.  Furthermore, the suggestion was to include Pueblo Revival styling similar to the original bandstand that used to be on the Circle.  You can see how the original bandstand was much larger than the current Gazebo making it friendlier for hosting larger bands and group performances.

Miami Springs Band Stand
Miami Springs Band Stand

Let’s put it another way.¬† Today’s Gazebo is too small to ever host a live performance from the Pelican Playhouse.¬† However, if we were to replace with a larger permanent bandstand / stage, then we could enjoy live theater performances on the Circle. From a cultural and civic engagement standpoint, we think this is a great idea.

Miami Springs Circle Bandstand
Miami Springs Circle Bandstand

Mayor Mitchell reinforced the idea of “where possible to incorporate the Pueblo Mission ambiance / essence / style.”¬† That said, the Mayor said we would need a lot of buy in from the community for a Pueblo Mission style bandstand to replace the existing¬† Gazebo.

Councilman Fajet weighed in, and while he loved the intent from Councilwoman Bravo, he wasn’t crazy about the idea of replacing the Gazebo to a Pueblo Mission style bandstand. He indicated “We have bigger fish to fry.”

Councilman Vazquez brought up the Centennial Committee and the fact that they may have some suggestions that may or may not correlate with Councilwoman Bravo’s suggestion.

What do you think?  Should we leave the Gazebo as is or is it time to replace the Gazebo with a grand bandstand?

New Country Club

Councilwoman Bravo also brought up the idea of constructing a new Country Club with more amenities than what is currently offered.  She had reiterated suggestions listed above including Tennis, Pickleball, and Racquetball, but also floated the idea of an adult pool and lap pool.  She also brought up the original multi-story country club with superior views compared to our single story country club with nominal views to enjoy the full golf course.

Miami Springs Golf and Country Club
Miami Springs Golf Course

Mayor Mitchell was pleased that Bravo had brought this up.  She thought that adding the additional amenities would improve the traffic and business for the restaurant and bar.

Mayor Mitchell said “…our inside of the country club is pretty nice I think.”¬† At which point there was some grumbling from the other council members.¬† Mayor Mitchell then said, “Okay, maybe not for everybody.”

Vazquez quickly added,¬† “I think the bathrooms need improvement.”

Mitchell replied, “Well the bathrooms need to be updated to ADA.”

Mitchell also brought up the design of the structure.¬† She said the outside of the country club “looks like a facility.”

Miami Springs Golf and Country Club
Miami Springs Golf and Country Club (Photo credit: MiamiSprings.com)

Mitchell added “There’s more opportunity to make it (the Country Club) much nicer.”

Councilman Santin added “I think she had a good idea. It’s part of the vision.¬† We should consider it in the future.”

Councilman Vazquez Suggestions

Miami Springs Councilman Victor Vazquez
Miami Springs Councilman Victor Vazquez

Councilman Vazquez was focused more on the long term vision for the city in 5, 10, and 20 years.¬† He reiterated Councilman Santin’s goals of strategic planning.

We agree with both Santin and Vazquez.  A long term vision and plan is needed.  Regardless if you can fund items today or not, the long term vision needs to be in place in order to (A) have an agreed upon set of long term goals (B) set the milestones needed to accomplish the goals (C) remove distractions and impediments blocking the path to the goal and (D) most importantly, accomplish and reach the goals by a set deadline.

Lack of Long Term Plan is Hurting Us

Since the city does not have an existing long term strategic plan, projects move forward without consideration for the long term goals.¬† If it’s established that the City of Miami Springs wants to replace the country club, upgrade the country club, and/or add new amenities, then those considerations should have been done prior to spending millions to rework the golf course.

I can see a scenario where in order to fit tennis courts, pickleball and racquetball, the city may have to redo some of the work they are doing right now. In other words, the taxpayers get to pay for the project twice.  Why?  Because the current project was independent of any thought of the other long term goals the City may have.

Again, the new City Manager should be able to take the various wishlists from Council, Staff, and Administration and turn it into a working plan with goals to accomplish short term and long term. That way there’s an agreed upon plan and vision.¬† It doesn’t have to be something big and fancy and expensive.¬† In fact, short, sweet and direct will be the best way to get things done.

We want to applaud Mayor Mitchell and the entire City Council for getting together to hold the public workshop meeting and coming up with ideas and solutions to fix problems and improve the quality of life for Miami Springs residents, not just today, but for generations to come.¬† Ultimately, it’ll be up to the new City Manager to turn the plan into reality with guidance from this City Council.

This was a great first step in coming up with the “Miami Springs 2026 and Beyond” strategic plan.¬† Well done City Council.

Your Feedback Matters

Your voice matters.  Let us know what you think in the comments section below or via social media.

1 COMMENT

  1. No to fencing dove park. It makes no sense and waste of tax payer dollars. The park is just fine and should be open to everyone. There has never been issue with the park. Why change it now.

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