It takes a village to raise a child.
That is an old African proverb signifying a united vested interest in assuring that every child is well cared for by the extended family of a community. It was echoed at the City of Opa-locka’s grand opening ceremony for Sherbondy Village on Thursday, November 15, 2012.
Elected officials throughout Miami- Dade County said Sherbondy Village is a community center, long in the making, for Opa-locka families. “This facility will give parents more choices for afterschool and summer programs,” said Mayor Myra L. Taylor in a statement about the facility. “Our community can enjoy more sports and cultural arts programs at the Village.”
he new 28,000 sq. ft. facility offers afterschool programs, and an aquatic program is scheduled to launch in May 2013. The two-story facility includes a gymnasium, a 250 seat black box theater, community pool and additional rooms for games and activities.
The city’s Parks and Recreation department will move its offices to the new location.
Following a poem offered by a youth from Dr. Robert B. Ingram Elementary and an anti-bullying skit performed by students from Nathan B. Young Elementary.
The moment four local high school bands marched onto the field, to the last perfected note in an upbeat musical challenge, the “village” crowd cheered for their favorite school as the bands showcased their talent during the renown “Battle of the Bands” segment of the grand opening ceremony. More than 280 band members from Hialeah-Miami Lakes, Miami Northwestern, Miami Norland and Miami Carol City performed at their level best prior to official ribbon cutting ritual.
The concept for Sherbondy Village has been long in the making. Ideas about bringing a multi-use facility to Opa-locka residents surfaced around 1996 under Dr. Robert Ingram’s tenure as Mayor.
The commission at that time had an idea to build a gymnasium near Segal Park on 143rd Street; however, funding for that project eventually fell through.
The concept shifted, as more funding was secured, and an idea that was on hold for a while came back to life.
In 2004, the idea resurfaced again when the city secured a Community Development Block Grant from the county with the help of County Commissioner Barbara Jordan. By this time, the city sought to purchase the land where the old library sat – the same location that is now home to Sherbondy Village. The city was interested in rehabilitating the old library into a gymnasium. Problems with the project placed the concept on hold.
However, as time marched forward, the city was able to secure additional funding. As a result, the project grew from just a gym to include a community swimming pool.
Commissioner Timothy Holmes is credited for creating the concept that the facility is to be a “village”. Consequently, the name Sherbondy Village became official.
The $4.3 million facility was developed with funds through the county’s Safe Neighborhood Park Bond Program, County General Obligation Bond, a Community Development Block Grant and funding from Opa-locka’s general fund.
Outside construction was completed last year and inside renovations ended in the early part of 2012. Using the facility was on hold until the city completed upgrades to a sewer pump station which was finished in September.
Now open to the public, Sherbondy Village serves Opa-locka and the surrounding communities.
The facility is dedicated to former Mayor Joseph L. Kelley, now currently serving as vice mayor, and his mother, former Commissioner Ollie B. Kelley.
For more information on the programs and hours of operation at Sherbondy Village, contact the City of Opa locka Parks and Recreation Department at (305) 953- 3042.