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Written by Janet Goodman, BT Contributor   
March 2018

You can find both at Heritage Park

AParkPatrol_1tlantic beachside communities often invest in their sun ’n’ surf locations by creating beautiful parks. This is the case with Sunny Isles Beach.

In 2011 the city dedicated its northernmost public green space, Heritage Park. This four-acre property was purchased for $19 million, says Sylvia Flores, the new director of the Cultural & Community Services Department, which manages all the Sunny Isles Beach parks; organizes cultural, youth, and adult programs; operates the community shuttle bus service; and serves as the city’s liaison with the Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment.

According to Flores, the multinational engineering firm AECOM was commissioned to build the park and its adjacent public parking garage, at a cost of $13.1 million. The result is an attractive state-of-the-art recreational area that invites locals and tourists to come and enjoy the outdoors.

The football-shaped park (or marquise-cut, if you prefer diamonds) at Collins Avenue and 192nd Street has as its outermost ring a concrete sidewalk, followed by consecutive concentric rings of robellini palms, metal fencing, blueberry trees, a brick-laid walking path, and huge date palms. All the trees are neatly pruned, and much of the acreage is an open grassy field, which fills up with visitors during concerts and movie nights that are held at the park’s west-end amphitheater stage.

ParkPatrol_2Facing to the east, visitors get an unobstructed view of the Sunny Isles Beach skyscraper skyline. The 485-foot, 43-story Regalia, built in 2014 and looking like a tall, cool stack of CDs, borders the Golden Beach town line, northernmost coastal city in Miami-Dade County. To the south of that, also on the east side of Collins Avenue, is the distinctive coral-pink and white Ocean 1 condominium, followed by the Ramada Plaza Marco Polo Beach Resort and Ocean 2. Parkgoers can access the area’s famous beach between the Ocean 1 and Marco Polo buildings.

Heritage Park is tucked in between Collins Avenue to the east; the city’s new $2-per-hour parking garage structure to the south, with its delightful painted trompe l’oeil palm shadow silhouettes on the façade; and the massive boomerang-shaped Ocean Reserve condominium to the west.

If the Jetsons were in town, they’d no doubt feel right at home in Heritage Park, surrounded by the neighborhood’s futuristic-designed buildings and the park’s two playgrounds. These kid zones seem to have a magnetic pull on children under 12 (and people who are kids at heart).

Swings, a seesaw, and a wild assortment of fun climbers and bridges all have a colorful, sci-fi-inspired look, and the perimeter cement walls are low enough for parents to sit on or look over to keep an eye on their broods.

ParkPatrol_3Director Flores points out that royal-blue and teal geometric-shaped shade structures were recently added over the playgrounds, costing approximately $175,000, and were paid for out of the city’s capital improvement fund.

Next to the playgrounds are several splash fountains for safe water fun on hot days, a restroom/picnic pavilion with cement-tile tables that double as chessboards, and four fire-engine-red metal picnic tables. A drinking fountain keeps everybody hydrated.

Heritage Park wants you to have a safe and relaxing visit, so it enforces rule restrictions that are posted at entrance gates: no pets, no non-permitted group sports, no smoking, no bike riding, and no skateboarding. There are bike and skateboards racks for those who visit unaware of the restrictions, and about 70 paces south of the park is a small, fenced-in dog park where canines can romp off the leash with their owners. It’s approximately 20 by 40 feet in size, and shaded by the nearby public parking garage and the Ocean Reserve condo garage.

The dog park has two entrances -- one is a double-gated entrance for safely coming in and going out with dogs -- a human/dog drinking fountain, a pet waste station equipped with poop bags, and a whimsical bronze statue of a little boy and girl taking their terrier for a walk. Former Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Norman Edelcup is honored here by the Humane Society of Greater Miami with a bone-shaped plaque, recognizing his “commitment to homeless animals through spay/neuter and educational programs.”

ParkPatrol_4

Back inside the people park, visitors can stroll along the brick footpath and take a rest on one of many cement benches that are inlaid with lapis-blue glass chips that sparkle in the sun. Most of these benches are graced with dedication plaques that can be purchased for $250 through the Sunny Isles Beach bench dedication program and last for five years. There’s also a Soofa bench, which came in handy during dreaded power outages caused by last fall’s Hurricane Irma.

This MIT brainchild is a solar-electric outdoor charging station that’s free to use. It’s equipped with USB connections for mobile devices, serves as a Wi-Fi hotspot, and can be upgraded to analyze street-level activity like foot traffic, making Heritage Park an official “smart” park. According to the company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Soofa benches are in a hundred cities. In Florida, Soofa benches are also in use in Doral, Coral Gables, West Palm Beach, Stuart, and Ocala.

ParkPatrol_5

Last stop for parkgoers is the Veterans Wall, which honors local servicemen and servicewomen. Created within a grassy amphitheater design, the Veterans Wall contains bronze plaques that are updated annually with new names of Sunny Isles Beach residents who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Residents can apply online or at the Government Center building, 18070 Collins Ave., or at Pelican Community Park, 18115 North Bay Rd. in Sunny Isles Beach. Proof of residency and proof of honorable discharge are required. Adjoining the military section is the Honorable Commission Wall, with names of elected city officials.

More improvements at Heritage Park are on the horizon, says director Flores. The city has plans for a shade structure installation over the water splash feature, more playground equipment, and a resurfacing of the playground flooring.

 

 

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Park_map

Heritage Park
19200 Collins Ave.
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160
305-792-1706


Park Rating

palm-1palm-1palm-1palm-1palm-0


Hours: 
7:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
except Friday, noon to 8:45 p.m.
Picnic Tables: Yes
Barbecues: No
Picnic pavilions: Yes
Tennis Courts: No
Athletic Fields: Yes
Night lighting: Yes
Water Splash: Yes
Playground: Yes

 

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