FRA Ineffable Miami: Country Walk by Michelle Cilli

Photo by Ariel Weissgerber, CC by 4.0

BIOGRAPHY

Michelle Cilli is a college junior at Florida International University. She is studying Biology with a minor in Chemistry on a pre-med track. She is involved in a few medical clubs at her University and is a part of the Honors College. Michelle has over 500 shadowing hours and one day hopes to pursue her passion as a family physician. She has lived in Country Walk for 20 years, so she is very familiar with the area.

GEOGRAPHY

Photo retrieved from Google Maps

Country Walk is a census-designated place located in Miami-Dade County. It has an area of about 2.7 square miles and is home to around 10,653 residents as indicated by the US Census 2010.

HISTORY

Hurricane Irma: Andrew's Country Walk survivors brace for Irma ...
Photo retrieved from the MiamiHerald.com

In 1992, Country Walk was one of the many areas severely affected by Hurricane Andrew. Many lawsuits were filed against Arvida, the home developer of Country Walk, for poor construction of the homes. This disaster lead to 90% of the 1,700 homes built to be completely destroyed. Years after this tragedy, the rebuilding of Country Walk came slowly but surely. The homes are now built with a concrete foundation rather than a wood foundation so that if another catastrophic incident similar to Hurricane Andrew were to come about, the homes would have more solid and stable walls.

Before the Country Walk neighborhood came about, there was nothing but land. The inspiration for the farmhouse neighborhood with the white fences and weathervanes had to do with the fact that it was all farmland before. It gives its residents a very rural feel even though it’s located on two very busy streets. Country Walk became one of the first planned communities in the Kendall area.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Photo taken by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 15,997 residents living in Country Walk. This is a large increase compared to the 10,653 residents living there in 2000 as recorded by the 2000 US Census. Country Walk is approximately 2.58 square miles and has 6,202.8 residents per square mile in comparison to the 2000 census where only 3,879 per square mile. Country walk also consists of 4,704 houses where in 2000 there was 3,409 houses. As seen in these statistics, Country Walk is rapidly growing and is becoming a desired area to live in.

Country Walk is made up primarily of Hispanic/Latino residents (72%), but other races to note are White (18%), African American (5%), Asian (3%), and 2 or more races (1%). From the year 2014-2018 it was recorded that 46.7% of Country Walk’s total population was foreign born. There are 8,874 (51.9%) females and 8,240 (49.1%) males residing in Country Walk. Another important detail to note is that only about 8.6% of residents are living in poverty.

The median housing value in Country Walk is about $307,300, while the median household income is about $79,167.

Biography of Lenora Cilli (a Country Walk resident)

Lenora Cilli was born on November 19, 1968 in Hialeah, Florida. She moved to Country Walk in 1993 after she met her husband Michael Cilli. They have lived in Country Walk for 27 years and still love it today.

Interview

Michelle: Why did you move to Country Walk and not another area?

Lenora: After visiting the neighborhood my husband and I thought it would be the perfect place to raise a family because there were many parks and it is patrolled by security at all times.

Michelle: What is the best part about living in Country Walk?

Lenora: There are many things near by. Less than a mile away you can find a supermarket, bank, or restaurant.

Michelle: What is your least favorite part about living in Country Walk?

Lenora: I do not like how busy it has become. When we first moved here there were not half the number of houses there are today. Now it feels like every time I go outside there are more homes under construction to be built.

LANDMARKS

Jack D. Gordon Elementary Community School

Photo taken by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

Jack D. Gordon Elementary School is located in the heart of Country walk and has a total enrollment of 892 students. It is considered an ‘A’ school and teaches from prekindergarten all the way to fifth grade. Jack D. Gordon is a part of the Miami-Dade Public Schools system and offers many programs such as Gifted for grades second through fifth.

Country Walk Plaza

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

This plaza is located right outside of the Country Walk neighborhood and was placed there for convenience. It contains a lot of the stores necessary for everyday life such as Publix, CVS, Subway, Dairy Queen, Country Walk Animal Hospital, Urgent Care, Bank of America and many more.

Country Walk Homeowner’s Association

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0
Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

This is where the heart of Country Walk lies. It is a clubhouse that is exclusive to Country Walk residents. There is a pool, hot tub, basketball court, lake, yoga classes, summer camp, and much more. The employees are very helpful if you have any questions relating to the association or security.

GREEN

Oak Creek Park

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

This is the largest park located in the Country Walk area. It is a part of metro parks and is free to the public. There are basketball courts as well as areas to workout. You do not have to be a Country Walk resident to go to this park. There is a track that goes all the way around the park for bikes, scooters, etc.

Lake at the Country Walk Homeowner’s Association

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0
Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

This is a beautiful lake located at the Country Walk Homeowner’s Association Clubhouse. There are all types of wildlife that can found such as fish, turtles, ducks, iguanas, etc. Around the lake you can find workout stations meant for different areas of your body. I personally love working out around this lake because it gives a calming feel. There are benches and a gazebo located around this lake to just sit and relax. This is one of my favorite areas in Country Walk.

Parks located in Stoney Brook

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0
Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

There are two parks located in one subarea of Country Walk alone. This subarea is called ‘Stoney Brook’. If you drive by either of these parks you will always see kids playing basketball or swinging on the monkey bars. As a kid, I would go to these parks every day and get all of my energy out. These parks have actually contributed to some of my favorite childhood memories. This is just another reason this area was meant for families.

TRANSPORTATION

Public Transportation

Photo taken by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

There is only one bus route that goes directly into Country Walk that is called route 252 Coral Reef Max. it travels from Dadeland South Station all the way to Country Walk located on 152 ST and 137 AVE. The photo above shows all of the bus stops that run through Country Walk with this bus route.

Personal Vehicles

Since the mean travel time to work for Country Walk residents is about 38.5 mins for ages 16 and up as reported in 2014-2018, many people prefer to drive their personal vehicles.

FOOD

Ferrari’s Pizzeria

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0
Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

Ferrari’s Pizza is a one of a kind local pizzeria. It has a large variety of tasty Italian food on its menu and has excellent customer service. They offer delivery to nearby areas and excellent deals to keep customers satisfied. My family and I order from this pizzeria at least once every two weeks and are never dissatisfied.

Mamma Mia’s Pizzeria

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

Mamma Mia’s is also a one of a kind local pizzeria that serves a variety of Italian dishes from New York styled pizza to Stromboli. It is located in the Country Walk Plaza and is widely recognized by all Country Walk residents. It is conveniently close because it is not even a mile from most Country Walk residents. They opened in 1978 in Long Island, New York and traveled all the way to Miami to bring the Italian tradition here.

Mooyah Burger, Fries, & Shakes

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

Mooyah is a restaurant that serves American styled food and is the only location in Miami, Florida. They are known for their delicious burgers and hand crafted shakes. The franchise opened in 2007 and have opened more than 60 stores. Many people travel to the Country Walk area to have their delicious burgers, fries, and shakes.

BUSINESS

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 2,233 firms located in the area of Country Walk. 1,301 of those firms are male owned and 830 of them are female owned.

University of Miami Health Jackson Urgent Care

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

This urgent care was built within the last 2 years and was very needed. It is the only urgent care located in Country Walk. If someone is not feeling well or needs a physical examination done in order to play sports this is the perfect place to go. Going to the hospital can be too much of a hassle sometimes and if it is not necessary then urgent care is the better option. On top of that, this urgent care is owned by U Health Jackson which is known to also own some of the best hospitals in Miami.

Top Gun Cheer and Dance Training Center

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

This warehouse was built specifically for cheerleading and dance competitors. It offers tumbling classes or you can join competitive travel teams. It is very well known with only five locations in the United States. The Miami location has won the World Championship twelve times! This is cheerleading and dance like you’ve never seen before. There are teams and classes for all age groups.

West Kendall Toyota/ Lexus Dealership

Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0
Photo by Michelle Cilli, CC by 4.0

These two dealerships are the only ones located in the Country Walk area. They are beautifully built and offer thousands of brand new or used vehicles. People from all over travel to these dealerships to get the best price on cars. It is located on 138 St and 137 Ave.

SUMMARY

Overall, Country Walk is not the typical place you would think when you hear South Miami because of its farm-like appearance, however, it is just as diverse and sought after. Country Walk keeps constructing new homes and it is only predicted to grow in population.

It is like its own little town because it has parks, food, urgent cares, supermarkets, and much more. Although it was once a rural area, it is not anymore. Country Walk is located on two very busy roads which are 152 St and 137 Ave. Everything that the residents need can mostly be found within a two-mile radius. It is a perfect area for families because of the parks and activities available.

If you live in the area, you’ll be able to her a cargo freight train come by every once in a while, which makes it unique compared to other neighborhoods.

A great thing about the Country Walk area is that there are three Miami-Dade County Public Schools located there. They are Jack D. Gordon Elementary School, Jorge Mas Canosa Middle School, and Norma Butler Bossard Elementary School. This allows for quick and easy transportation for parents to drop off their kids.

All in all, Country Walk is a beautiful neighborhood and many people love living here. It is protected by security at all times which ensures the safety of its residents. I highly suggest this area to anyone looking for a forever home.

References

Jack D. Gordon Elementary. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2020, from http://api.dadeschools.net/schoolwebsite/

Mammamia Pizza. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2020, from https://mammamiapizza1.com/

Metrobus Route Details. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2020, from https://www.miamidade.gov/transportation-publicworks/routes_detail.asp?route=252

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2020, from https://www.mooyah.com/

Top Gun Cheer and Dance Training Center. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2020, from http://www.topguncheeranddance.com/index.php

U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Country Walk CDP, Florida. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2020, from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/countrywalkcdpflorida

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