Monday, April 07, 2008

Orphaned Parcel Near The N.W. Corner Of North Miami

There's a block of unincorporated Miami-Dade County between the northwest corner of the City of North Miami and that little yellow rectangle to the upper left of the city. At the last Board of Adjustment meeting that parcel was on the agenda for a zoning variance so it could be used for child care related uses. I was surprised to discover that it wasn't already zoned that way.

More surprising was the fact the everybody seemed puzzled as to why this non contiguous chunk of real estate was even part of the city. Usually cities are in one piece, not two, unless perhaps it includes an island in the bay. The city attorney didn't know, the city planner didn't know, the other board members didn't know, and the organization applying for the variance didn't know. Nobody did their homework!

Back in the 1960's and 70's the land was owned by the North Dade YMCA, with plans to erect a building. At that point there was just a small building with offices, a swimming pool, and a roofed over area near the pool. The site was used for outdoor sports and as a day camp during school vacations. Financial support came from various fund raising events such as dinners and golf tournaments. I photographed a bunch of them. A guy named Doug Denison was the director and he and I became good friends.

Things were still a bit racist in that era. The City of Opa Locka just to the west and the west side of North Miami gradually had more and more black residents. The whites who'd been sending their kids to the YMCA camp and other activities, and paying money to play in those golf tournaments, gradually started moving away and sending their kids to camps elsewhere. North Miami took up a lot of the slack by having summer and vacation camps and programs in various city parks. Plans to build a big YMCA building fell by the wayside. The property was abandoned.

While it was the YMCA, though, people wanted it to have good police protection as well as fire and rescue service. That was before the county took over fire-rescue and there was no nearby county police station. Anexing it to the city supplied those services. I moved to aprove the variance. It passed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! I went to the Y-camp there! Must have been in the mid-70s. I remember it well :)

9:24 AM  

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