Xway expansion, parks dominate first half of 2014

Xway expansion, parks dominate first half of 2014

Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho (center) is welcomed by KFHA president Michael Rosenberg (left), and Libby and Alfonso Perez.

Constant agony over traffic gridlock on crowded streets continued to dominate Kendall issues for most residents during 2014, but there were other highlights for the year.

Among them: Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan Zapata’s efforts to bring added focus on West Kendall as a “destination center” with a Kendall Corridor Study charrette, coupled with a new incorporation study that awaits further study by two MAC committees instead of one.

As always, there was a focus on Kendall’s traffic with MDX expansion plans that include new express lanes raising controversy before approval by Florida’s Turnpike Authority to begin construction from Kendall Drive south to Homestead. Here are the top stories that made news in the Kendall Gazette from January to June 2014:

Miami-Dade Parks budgeting revealed $105 million in unfunded projects with $11.8 million unexpended for the long-awaited District Park in West Kendall (still a project “on the books”)…$133 million will expand Florida’s Turnpike express lanes from Killian Drive to SW 72nd Street…Developer Jeff Berkowitz earmarks $45 million to renovate Kendallgate Shopping Center on Kendall Drive…West Kendall Baptist Hospital introduces new tomography system to provide cross-sectional imaging of body’s organs…$2.5 million year-round cleanup of arsenic-polluted soil begins at Hammocks Community Park…Zoning Board rejects expansion of MG Jewelry to SW 117th Avenue shopping center, fearing precedent of new pawn shop expansion.

Schools Superintndent Alberto Carvalho announces 50 Kendall schools will receive $150 million in upgrades, thanks to passage of $1.2 billion school bond issue in 2012…Lollypop School in Winston Park opens doors to working parents with new hours…United HealthCare breaks ground for new four-story senior residence in West Kendall…Daniella Cava Levine announces she’ll run for District 8 County Commission seat…Continental Park gets $298,212 for upgrading…English Soccer Star David Beckham mobbed by fans at Kendall Soccer Park after announcing he’ll seek Miami professional franchise…Seventh Day Adventists to build new two-story headquarters building on existing SW 117th Avenie campus.

Aviation enthusiasts visit two World War II bombers flown into Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport for Wings Over Miami tours, followed by capacity crowds signing up for flights on a restored 1929 Ford tri-motor passenger aircraft…Community-wide charrette begins new Kendall Corridor study to improve existing and new development of Kendall Drive in West Kendall…County completes first unified wall-painting outside homes on Coral Way between SW 122nd and 147th Avenues…SEED to offer college prep schooling at SW 84th Street MDC Cottages area…5,000 particpate in Relay for Life around Baptist Hospital lake.

A $505,000 project begins lighting pathways at Westbrook and Rueben Dario Parks…Miami Improv Club leaves Coconut Grove to open at the Homefield Bar & Grille in Kendall Village Center…New Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) begins incorporation study of West Kendall…Expansion of West Kendall Dog Park off SW 157th Avenue adds new parking area, improved facilities…Park ‘n’ Ride commuter lot announced for “end of year” opening at Kendall Drive and SW 127th Avenue…$220,606 project completed to improve turns at SW 104th Street intersection with 122nd Avenue…Tropical Park celebrates biggest weekend of year with 60,000 attending to mark opening of expanded Ronald Reagan Equestrian Center.

Mother’s Day marked at Wild Lime Park in West Kendall with 25 trees planted by Cub Scouts…Comcast employees mark their 13th year of “Rebuilding Together Day” with volunteer program to rehab West Perrine neighborhood homes…Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations marks 32nd year of “Operation Turnaround” honoring 25 students with scholarships and recognition for bettering student careers.

Commissioner Zapata says suburban population move to downtown condos “makes it critical for new focus in West Kendall,” urges support of incorporation instead donor community role…$31,210 State Farm grant aids Terra High School’s pilot project to raise beetles that eat potato vines overpopulating Miami-Dade parks…Kennard Cox, 28-year-old Kansas City Chiefs cornerback, opens “Camp No Excuses” at alma mater Killian Senior High School to teach life and football fundamentals… Zoo Miami welcomes three newborn of endangered species: white-faced Saki monkey, Somali wild ass and black rhinoceros…Richmond Heights honors first 25 pioneer families with plaque at Lincoln Boulevard and Madison Street.

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