New Addition for Arcola Lakes Park (FL)

Families gathering at Arcola Lakes Park in northwest Dade County for Commissioner Dorrin Rolle’s third annual Youth Spring Break Picnic on Saturday, April 7, will have an extra reason to celebrate. After years of planning, the park is getting bigger thanks to the combined efforts of the Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation Department and the Trust for Public Land (TPL).

Together with the Parks Department, TPL recently completed the purchase of a 3.76-acre site that was a former trailer park adjacent to the park. This acreage, which was then conveyed to the county, is the latest in a series of acquisitions TPL has made for the department, a partnership that has grown since TPL helped spearhead the Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond referendum. In fact, the county is purchasing this site with Safe Neighborhood Park program funds.

“This is a wonderful gift for the people in the neighborhood,” said Miami-Dade County District 2 Commissioner Dorrin D. Rolle. “Arcola Lakes Park is a very popular place that is used by the whole community. Young people come here to play tennis or handball, and older people come to walk on the trail, take a ceramics class or attend meetings in the community center. The barbecue area gets used for a birthday party or family reunion nearly every weekend.”

The heavily used park has a successful youth tennis program, a small community center, and a walking path for senior citizens. The addition of the adjacent land will provide more open space in a densely populated area and will help eliminate recurring flooding problems by allowing the creation of a natural stormwater retention area. Additional plans call for construction of a picnic shelter, walkway and landscaping.

“Arcola Lakes Park is the life of the community,” says Melford Pinder, chairperson of the Arcola Park and Recreation Committee. “Any hour of the day you will find dozens and dozens of men, women and families walking. They love the walking trail.”

Mrs. Pinder, who also serves as chair of the West Little River Community Development Advisory Board, has been involved with the site since the original park was created in 1982. She said that including the trailer park in the facility was part of the plan from the beginning, but the money wasn’t available and the owner didn’t want to sell. It wasn’t until the involvement of TPL’s Miami senior project manager Brenda Marshall that the deal came together.

“Brenda did a fantastic job helping us. She was as excited as we were,” says Mrs. Pinder. “And then I got the help of Commissioner Rolle. Without those two, we would not have been able to do this.”

Commissioner Rolle’s Youth Spring Break Picnic will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 7 at Arcola Lakes Park, 1301 NW 83rd Street. Last year more than 800 people attended the event, which includes food, games and other outdoor activities. For more information, please contact Rev. Frances Floyd in Commissioner Rolle’s office at (305) 694-2779.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. Operating in Florida since 1975, TPL has partnered with private landowners, communities, and government agencies to protect more than 200 special places throughout state. In South Florida, TPL has worked to preserve Spring Garden Point Park, the Miami Circle, the Key West Custom House and the Everglades. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. TPL is on the web at