As the first and only Mayor of Miami Gardens, the third largest city in Miami- Dade County, Shirley Gibson—who is coming to the end of her term— has had nine years of experience leading her constituents through adversity and positive change, resulting in numerous successes in changing the quality of life of the residents and business located in the City of Miami Gardens.
Under her leadership and the city council, along with a dedicated workforce of more than 500 employees and 107,000 residents, much has been accomplished since the City’s inception in 2003. And all along, Mayor Gibson was the driving force behind many of those ideas that came to fruition:
2003: She served as the chairperson on the committee to incorporate The City of Miami Gardens, which after a seven-year struggle became a reality in 2003.
2004: Launched the Keep Miami Gardens Beautiful office, which deals with beautification and enhanced landscaping throughout the City. This effort was to engage homeowners in keeping their properties up to code and resulting in community pride. The City gave special recognition to homeowners and businesses for their ongoing efforts.
2005: The City survived its first major disaster, Hurricane Wilma, and the beginning of the world-renowned Jazz in the Gardens.
2006: The City of Miami Gardens received the highest recognition from the government Finance Officers Association, The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.
2007: The City formed its own Police Department staffed with more than 200 officers fully equipped with the latest state-of-the art equipment.
2008: Mayor Gibson was named the President of the Miami-Dade League of Cities. The City of Miami Gardens was also honored as a “Crown Community” by American City and County Magazine for Leadership and Creativity in local government.
2009: The City received $11 million in federal grants for housing and public safety during the national financial crisis.
2010: The City celebrated the grand opening of the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex as well as Calder Casino, which provided hundreds of new jobs and more than one million dollars in revenue to the City. The City also received a bond rating grade of “A” and the City itself an “A+” from Standard & Poor’s. 2011: Construction began on the $50 million new City Hall Complex that will also house the City’s police department.
2012: After seven years of legal wrangling, the City settled its Citizen Independent Transportation Trust dispute with Miami- Dade County, resulting in the County awarding the City $10 million for transportation projects.
Mayor Gibson, who is term-limited, said she fought successfully for all these economic and social changes and more, all resulting in many positive outcomes. Now, with the election of a new mayor on August 14th, residents will make the decision on who they feel will be a worthy successor to Mayor Gibson’s legacy.