Miami’s Community Newsapers: “New nature-inspired play spaces open at Debbie Curtin Park!”

On Friday, Dec. 14, Miami-Dade Parks Director Maria I. Nardi and Miami-Dade County District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava gathered at Debbie Curtin Park, 22821 SW 112 Ave., Miami, to officially dedicated new recreation amenities designed to provide a more adventurous and eco-minded public play space for youth.  They were joined by the late Debbie Curtin’s husband Dan and family; Palm Glades Academy Principal Dr. Laura Ferreira Vesga and student representatives; Parks and District 8 staff, and neighborhood families.

The new development is part of Miami-Dade Parks’ massive shift from traditional playgrounds to using nature-inspired components in its designs. The aim is to encourage children to spend less time indoors on computers and watching television, and spend more time in Miami-Dade’s beautiful parks, where they can be active and let their imaginations soar! Featured is a new 2,900 square-foot children’s playground, with a play mound, double slides, swings, a climbing net and ropes, and musical instruments to play, among others. The playground rests on an engineered wood-fiber safety surface and is surrounded by “green” inspired looping pathways and nature play pockets with native landscaping and butterfly-attracting plants. There is also a new 6,000 square-foot basketball court, as well as an ADA accessible drinking fountain, trash receptacles, benches, and other seating areas.

Studies show that children exposed to green spaces have less stress, while being in natural environments encourages more physical activity, improves inquisitiveness and alertness, and helps to foster a sense of place and community. Access to green spaces, and even a view of green settings, was found to enhance peace, self-control, and self-discipline in inner-city youth. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more time spent outdoors is related to reduced-rates of nearsightedness, also known as myopia, in children and adolescents.

“I am delighted to see these new nature-inspired recreation features at Debbie Curtin Park. This park is well on its way to becoming a wellspring for community activity. I look forward to seeing more residents and their children visiting this park daily for exercise, relaxation, and rejuvenation,” said Commissioner Levine Cava.

“Park development like this is focused on bettering the lives of people and the environment. These unique park spaces are inspiring residents and their children to be active and share special moments in the great outdoors, while experiencing the living ecosystems of green grass, plants, trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife,” said Parks Director Nardi.

The cost for this new development is approximately $476,000. Funding was provided by the Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond (BBC-GOB) Program and Impact Fees.

Other “nature-play” playgrounds in the Miami-Dade Parks system include: Tom Sawyer’s Play Island at Amelia Earhart Park, Country Lake Park, Greynolds Park (West site), Kings Meadow Park, Norman and Jean Reach Park, and Sunkist Park. Currently in the works are Biscayne Shores and Gardens Park. Future development will include Serena Lakes Park, Forest Lakes Park, and Camp Matecumbe.

Formerly known as Palm Glades Park, the 9.78-acre park was renamed and opened in 2010 as Debbie Curtin Park in memory of the late Team Metro Director Debbie Curtin. In 2016, the park added a one half-mile long walking path, a parking area, improved drainage, and Live Oak and flowering trees.

For directions, visit the Debbie Curtin Park web page or call 305-257-0310 (Homestead Air Reserve Park).

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