On Friday, May 14, 2021, at 3:30 p.m., Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins will lead a ribbon cutting for new park amenities at Live Like Bella Park, located at 29305 Illinois Road, Homestead. Joining the Mayor and Commissioner will be Miami-Dade County Parks Director Maria I. Nardi.
New park development includes a new 5,200 square foot community center with multi-use spaces, restrooms, a solar panel system, shaded exterior areas for activities, and connecting sidewalks. In addition, there is new landscaping and the existing parking lot was renovated to accommodate 46 parking spaces.
Among the new plantings are arrowroot, white indigo berry, Simpson’s stopper, muhly grass, dwarf firebush, silver buttonwood and locustberry shrubs. There are also live oak trees and verawood trees.
The entire construction and building systems fully comply with Florida Building Code (FBC) Energy Conservation requirements, which are among the most stringent codes in the nation. Solar panels will allow for cost savings as metered through Florida Power & Light (FPL) Company. The project is registered for Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and implements xeriscape landscaping, a landscaping design practice that uses native plants that are drought tolerant.
The project cost was approximately $3.8 million. Funding was provided by the Build Better Communities General Obligation Bond programs, impact fees and the Quality Neighborhood Improvement Program.
The 8.6-acre park also contains a children’s playground, a baseball field, two basketball courts, a fitness court, a pavilion, and a covered loggia that connects the community center with the newly remodeled pavilion. The loggia incorporates art pieces in the form of seating benches, provided by Art in Public Places. In addition, the existing pavilion roof provides shelter for outdoor activities and serves as source of green energy due to its solar panels’ infrastructure.
There is also a memorial plaque and memorial tree in tribute to the late “Bella” Rodriguez-Torres, a 10-year-old Miami-Dade girl, known worldwide for her courageous cancer battle, which raised awareness for pediatric cancer and the need for lifesaving research and support. “Live Like Bella” is a challenge to all of us to serve and help others.
Live Like Bella Park currently provides children’s activities and after-school childcare. The new community center will provide additional amenities and spaces to serve the community, such as Children’s Trust funded after school and summer camp programs for children ages 6 to 14, opportunities to host additional youth programs, active older adult programs, community events and meetings, and rental space.
“This park is now a living celebration of the memory of little Bella Rodriguez-Torres and the hope she inspires in all of us,” said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “It’s truly beautiful to see this park so alive with people of all ages walking and exercising outdoors and relaxing in these natural surroundings. With the Community Center, and robust afterschool and summer camp programs offered through the Children’s Trust, this park is a rich resource to our children, families, and seniors. Many thanks to the Miami-Dade County Parks Department and District 8 Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins for their collaboration and vision to enhance the quality of life for people in Miami-Dade County.”
Commissioner Cohen Higgins commented, “Live Like Bella Park holds a special place in the heart of our South Dade community. Bella’s incredible story and the organization’s life changing work supporting families facing childhood cancer serve as an inspiration for many locally and across the country. The new ‘eco-friendly’ community center that will host expanded after-school and summer programming at Live Like Bella Park exemplifies the values that are true to South Dade — a love for the outdoors, hope, and community.”
Miami-Dade Parks Director Maria I. Nardi said, “Live Like Bella Park is a special park that will continue to build and strengthen the community. We are celebrating the opening of this beautiful state-of-the-art community center and the opportunities it will provide for children and families to live like Bella. The Parks Department is proud of the green building and energy efficient elements that reduce our carbon footprint. This is a great example of how Parks is working to create more vibrant, resilient communities through conservation-focused parks and open spaces.”
We are humbled to have our daughter’s name associated with this beautiful park in our district,” said Raymond Rodriguez Torres, Bella’s Daddy and Chairman of the Live Like Bella® Childhood Cancer Foundation. “We are so grateful for the continued leadership and support of Mayor Levine Cava and our County commissioners. It is thanks to each of them that we are able to fulfill our mission to be a recognized leader in childhood cancer research and advocacy while providing financial and emotional support to families whose children are battling cancer,” he added.
All COVID-19 New Normal Guidelines will be observed, including mask-wearing and social distancing
For more information about Live Like Bella Park, call 305-248-1527 and visit the web page.