Tamiami Park facility celebrates new look

Pictured celebrating the restored Tamiami Park Recreation Center are (l-r, front) Arlene Bouza-Jou, recreation therapist; Lucy Binhack, Disability Services manager; a program participant; Parks deputy director George Navarrete; assistant director of operations Kevin Kirwin; Raul Garcia, vice president of the Parks Foundation Board; Allison Diego, business development director; Brad Rinzler; Maureen Nino; (back) Victoria Mallette, Parks Fundraising and Development manager, and Bob Miller, Parks Disability Services staff.

Thanksgiving came early for children, families and staff of Miami-Dade Parks’ Disability Services at Tamiami Park’s Recreation Center. More than 100 youngsters and adults who use the facility the year around helped celebrate a “Grand Re- Opening” of the 50-plus-year-old building on Nov. 14 before digging into a luncheon buffet table trimmed with a clay-modeled turkey.

The special program was organized to thank donors and volunteers who freely gave labor and materials for interior restoration and installation of new equipment at the center. Value of all contributed labor and services was $70,000.

“This was a gift from the community to the community, and all of it accomplished in just two weeks’ time,” said Parks deputy director George Navarette, speakimng to a cheering crowd in new surroundings where disabled children and adults participate weekly in recreational activities.

“The generosity of these firms, sponsors and volunteers for donated equipment, services and time have given new life to the center after years of wear and tear.”

Among major upgrades are new tile flooring; repainted walls; an updated electrical system; kitchen modernization with new sink, fixtures and refrigerator; new shelving and cabinetry; outdoor fencing, and landscaping.

All materials and labor for the building’s transformation were donated by local firms that included Home Depot, Odebrecht USA, CIC (Commercial Interior Contractors), Fence Masters, Tiger Direct, Office Depot and Waste Management. Lending a special touch was the presentation of a framed commemorative mural by Home Depot that alone provided 50 staff people from three Miami-Dade stores to assist the project.

The entire program was taped by Channel 10 for its “Making a Difference” series that has “ignited and showcased the giving spirit of the Miami-Dade community,” said Edith Torres of The Parks Foundation. The Parks’ Disability Program staffs and directs a year-around program that includes Wheelchair Sports, Blind Sports and Special Olympics along with out-ofschool and summer camp.

The Parks Foundation, which supports the Parks Department, is a non-profit organization to help develop a world-class parks system for residents and visitors.

Aiding such causes as the Adopt-a-Park program or donations to benefit children are available through Vicky Mallette at 305-755-7804 or by visiting online at www.theparksfoundationofmiamidade.com

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