The Miami-Dade County Historic Preservation Board, for the second consecutive year, has recognized individuals and organizations that have been strong advocates for historic preservation. Among the eight award recipients acknowledged at the Historic Preservation Board meeting, the City of Miami Gardens received the “Excellence in Municipal Historic Preservation Efforts Award.” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez was present for the occasion which was held on October 17, 2012, at Pinecrest Gardens. Newly elected Councilwoman Lillie Q. Odom and Daniel Rosemond, Assistant City Manager were present to accept the award for the City. Jay Marder, the City’s Development Services Director who lead staff in the City’s historic preservation efforts was unable to attend the presentation.
Shortly after its founding in 2003, City staff discovered the City’s legacy of Mid- Century Modernism (MiMo) architecture epitomized by the Sunshine State International Park Arch. The character of mid-century modern architecture that is peculiar to South Florida is known as MiMo or Miami Modern(ism). Developer William Webb’s deep appreciation of Florida’s environmental beauty inspired his vision of the Sunshine State International Park as an attractive, environmentally friendly commerce park rather than a utilitarian metal warehouse district. A grant from the Department of State funded the documentation of all examples of MiMo architecture in the City. That information is available on the city’s web site under the Planning and Zoning Department. In 2005 Randall C. Robinson, co-author of MiMo, Miami Modern Revealed and coiner of the term, “MiMo,” lead the City Council on an educational tour of the industrial park and nearby MiMo houses. At that point the City gained a new appreciation of its historic heritage, adding to the new city’s identity. All during this time, then city staffer Lillie Q. Odom was compiling a series of scrapbooks to document the city’s history through newspaper articles. In 2007, then Councilman Melvin Bratton lead the effort to designate the old two-story farmhouse at the former Archdiocese property at the corner of NW 183rd Street and NW 12th Avenue.
In August 2011, the Miami-Dade County Historic Preservation Board designated the Sunshine State Industrial Park Arch, the first structure in Miami Gardens to gain historic status. This effort was fully supported by the Mayor and City Council and was the first official action to start preserving the city’s heritage. The city has requested that the County’s Historic Preservation Office move forward with the preparation of a historic district nomination for the rest of the Sunshine State Industrial Park, which county staff believes to be the only MiMo style Industrial Park in the country.
The County also designated the Enrico Farmhouse in 2012, which the City plans to rehabilitate into a local historical museum and community research facility. The City of Miami Gardens has embraced historic preservation as one tool for economic revitalization as well as a way to preserve our heritage. Historic preservation enhances the community’s identity, which is a crucial component to improving the quality of life for residents. There are also certain saleable financial benefits. For example, once the Sunshine Park is designated as a historic district, property owners will be eligible to apply for a property tax exemption. Specifically, the owner will be able to apply for a ten (10) year property tax exemption for the value of a new improvement. This can be significant when the property is expanded or improved for a new tenant.
More information about the City’s historic preservation program is available by contacting Jay Marder at 305-622-8025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.