The Biscayne Times

Aug 03rd
A Park for All Ages PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janet Goodman, BT Contributor   
March 2020

Arcola Lakes Community Park has something for everyone

TParkPatrol_1he West Little River community, in unincorporated Miami-Dade County with a population of about 35,000, has several Miami-Dade County parks.

Arcola Park (a.k.a. Sidney Winn Park at Arcola) is home of the Arcola Pool, which is open only in the summer months. Located at 1680 NW 87th St., this 4.1-acre park serves 4853 people living within a ten-minute walk of the park, as listed by the Trust for Public Land (TPL). Amenities include basketball courts, a playground, and a softball field.

The 4.5-acre West Little River Park has basketball courts, a football field, and a recreation center. It serves 4423 people and is located at 2326 NW 84th St.

Fernville Park at 8517 NW 14th Ct. is a 0.5-acre mini park that serves 3444 people who live within a ten-minute walk of the park, according to TPL maps. But the granddaddy of them all is the 18.2-acre Arcola Lakes Community Park.


Serving 6000 residents who live within a ten-minute walk, Arcola Lakes Community Park is located at 1301 NW 83rd St., next to Lake Arcola, a popular fishing spot for bluegill, catfish, gar, and flathead catfish, according to the website Hook and Bullet.

In the spring of 2001, the Trust for Public Land purchased an adjacent trailer-park property and partnered with Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation to acquire the parcel to expand the park. What Dorrin Rolle, Miami-Dade County District 2 Commissioner, said 19 years ago still holds true today: “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 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.”

Since then, the amenities at the park have grown. The Arcola Lakes Senior Center on the park’s northwestern edge at 8401 NW 14th Ave. was dedicated in 2014. Designed by Indigo Service Corporation and built by Carivon Construction, the sunshine yellow center provides services to the community for those 55 and older.


On a late January visit, the BT was greeted by a security guard at the front desk and taken on a tour of the facility with center staff member and high school student Laurie Petit-Louis. First stop was the sewing room, where women were busy working on several sewing machines. The space also offers Pokeno games on Wednesdays and bingo on Fridays. Down the hall is the gym, equipped with weights and exercise machines. The ceramics room is where artworks are created, then displayed behind glass in the hallway.

One of the more popular spots in the senior center is the social room. Movies are shown there, and on any given day, ping pong and pool table games are under way. Card tables are set up for dominoes and card games. Another table brims with cakes, pastries, and cookies brought by visitors and complimentary coffee is offered to all.

A huge banquet room offers various classes, such as cardio fitness and Zumba on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, line dancing on Tuesdays, tai chi on Wednesdays, and yoga on Thursdays. Boccia ball is a new activity at the center. All classes are free to senior citizens 55 and older. The banquet hall has a restaurant-size kitchen for food preparation and is available on weekends to rent for parties and events. Half-room price is $481.50 per three-hour rental; full-room price is $898.80 per three-hour rental.


Then there is the seniors-only swimming pool. With canvas shades overhead, locker rooms with showers nearby, a Jacuzzi, handicap lift chair, and two on-duty lifeguards, this is a modern and safe place for seniors to enjoy the water all year round. Monday through Saturday, several social swims, water aerobics, and learn-to-swim classes are scheduled. After touring the center, one is left thinking that this park really values its senior citizens.

The senior center has a very large parking lot with plenty of disabled parking spaces, as well as a long bike rack. On the southeastern portion of Arcola Lakes Community Park is another large parking lot for the small recreation center. Before construction of the senior facility, this was the lone building for activities at the park. It has a party rental space and a community computers room, as well as bathrooms.

ParkPatrol_5Equally impressive as the senior center are the park’s wide-open spaces and mature shade trees. Oak, pine, ficus, palms, and other trees grace the property. A blacktop walking path cuts through the well-maintained lawns, and the lovely vistas can be enjoyed from one of three picnic pavilions, which are equipped with picnic tables and grills on cement pads.

Grilling is big here. Arcola Lakes Community Park can easily be nicknamed “Barbecue Park.” Grills are everywhere, and in the center of the park is a patio grilling station for big gatherings and parties. On the last Friday of every month, the “Meet at the Park” event is held, and it’s all about hanging with your neighbors and enjoying barbecue. Numerous garbage receptacles help to maintain the litter-free environment, despite all the activity.

Outdoor exercise is encouraged by the Parcourse FitCircuit, four tennis courts, and a handball court, with a water fountain nearby. To the east of the recreation center are three children’s playgrounds, with swings and slides. The park is well lit and secured by seven-foot metal fencing.

What’s yet to come at Arcola Lakes Community Park? This year expect the construction of a new fitness area and a prayer circle outside the recreation center where the old shuffleboard court is located. Next year’s scheduled improvements include a retention pond to help stem flooding. This friendly, active park just gets better and better. The BT is told that people come from as far as Broward County to enjoy this idyllic place in Miami. Guess the secret is out.



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Arcola Lakes
Community Park
1301 NW 83rd St.
Miami, FL 33147

Park Rating
palm-1 palm-1 palm-1 palm-05 palm-0

Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m
Picnic tables: Yes
Barbecues: Yes
Picnic pavilions: Yes
Tennis courts: Yes
Handball: Yes
Night lighting: Yes
Senior swimming pool: Yes
Playground: Yes


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