The following material is based on an article From Everglades to Industrial Center to Hometown, originally written by Cindy Rodriguez Pereira, and can be accessed on the Cty of Doral web site – Ed. Note.
Part 2 (1980-2000)
By the early ’80s, Doral started to experience the first spurts of growth when Alfred’s and Doris’ grandson, Bill developed Doral Estates, a community followed by a joint venture with Lennar Homes that would build Doral Park with an 18-hole golf course, just southwest of the already-famous Doral Resort and Blue Monster PGA tournament site.
Both communities were named after the Doral Hotel, a trend that was to be repeated many more times as the area began to expand.
Younger families started flooding into the immediate area northwest of Miami International Airport but had to travel to purchase even the most basic essentials, because there were no stores – or schools or parks. Although the majority of the original homes were investment properties or second homes, the early fulltime residents believed that the quality of life and the low housing costs far exceeded the lack of amenities and started coming together as a community.
Traffic problems were nonexistent, except for the occasional escaped cow. There were more farms with cows, horses and chickens than people along NW 107 Avenue; NW 87 Avenue was just two lanes and NW 41 Street ended at NW 104 Avenue.
From 1983-85, the county imposed a building moratorium for the area to protect its well fields. Once the ban was lifted, Doral experienced tremendous growth. The West Dade Federation of Homeowner Associations was formed in 1989 under the leadership of Morgan Levy to stand strong against any proposals that threatened the community’s welfare. As a result of those efforts, a police station instead of a jail was built, higher development standards were implemented, and more lighting, roads and landscaping appeared in the area.
Incorporation began in earnest in 1995 with the realization that residents were paying a very high price for services received; they wanted more services at a reasonable cost. The County met the first attempt at incorporation with a year’s deferral. Doral was then classified as a “donor community,” meaning that the taxes paid were more than the cost of operations within its service areas. With the deferal, incorporation efforts intensified even more.
The County was allowing unchecked growth that was detrimental to the residents. In 1996, the first election of a Community Council was held and soonto- be County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Cancio, Sr., Mario Pita and Barbara B. Thomas were elected to Council seats while three other members were appointed. The Council met every month to work on different projects and to address the needs of the community.
During the 1990’s, Miami International Airport’s hub for Central and South American import and export business grew quickly with an explosion of commercial warehousing development speared by The Codina Group in such projects as Airport West providing millions of square feet of space for cargo storage and transfers. At the same time, importation of flowers became a major industry, attracting a new employment base and heightened cargo transports.
(Part 3 to conclude next month)