Adding lights to an approximately quarter- mile section of SW 154th Avenue adjacent to Olympic Park, an area police have designated as a high crime area, will require a special taxing district.
Detailing a new project to light areas of SW 152nd Avenue and SW 80 Street, north of Kendall Drive, Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan C. Zapata told more than 40 residents that current plans could not light the densely-shaded street on the west side of the park where car thefts and drug dealing have required intense policing.
“The problem lies in funding,” Zapata stated.“The park will be lighted, as well as SW 152nd Avenue and SW 80th Street because they qualify as section line roads for county funded lighting improvements.
“Unfortunately, that designation doesn’t apply to SW 154th Avenue where residents only have the option of a taxing district for lighting, similar to the one in existence at Kendale Lakes.”
Zapata’s effort to improve street lighting extends north from Kendall Drive on SW 152nd Avenue for about 1.5 miles to SW 64th Street, and on SW 80th Street from 147th Avenue to 157th Avenue.
Olympic Park and the adjacent Kendale Lakes Branch Library fronting Kendall Drive are between SW 152nd and 154th avenues. Program dollars initially estimated at $300,000 to $400,000 will come from Zapata’s district discretionary PTP fund.
“We have approximately $700,000 to work with,” he explained. “How much the final cost will be depends upon the selection of light fixtures, placements and similar options, the reason we are seeking direct public participation.
“We will look into the possibility of using part of the county funds for the 154th Avenue lights,” he promised at the close of the meeting he arranged to get resident reactions, both to the general lighting program itself and the type of lighting fixtures that can reduce or increase overall cost.
“That’s one reason we want you to be part of the decision process,” Zapata emphasized, noting a choice between sodium vapor and incandescent street lights can add or reduce cost by as much as 30 percent, depending upon the number of lights needed and locations. A county team of public works, parks and tax district officials detailed proposed costs and selection options.
“Lighting for Olympic Park itself will definitely go ahead,” Zapata added, noting that integration with added street lighting is a key objective “so that improvements we make now are utilized effectively in future years.”
A taxing district to light SW 154th Avenue from 88th Street to 80th Street would cost property owners around $18 on yearly tax bills, according to an official county estimate.