MIM Ineffable Miami Project: The Ineffability of Kendale Lakes

By: Daniel Perez

About me:

Hello, my name is Daniel Perez. I am currently studying as a mechanical engineering major at FIU. I was born and raised in the city of Miami, as the first generation born in the United States from a Cuban background. I was brought up in the land of sexy people, summer fun year-round, and everyone owning a Ferrari or something like that. So of course, I wanted to see even more of my home. This semester I decided to take part in the Miami in Miami class, a leadership class designed to act as a study abroad without being abroad. It focuses on the smaller and more intricate details of Miami. As a class, we each decided to investigate one neighborhood within the city of Miami. I chose to attempt to describe the incredibleness of one of my city’s neighborhoods; Kendale Lakes. I grew up spending a lot of my childhood in this neighborhood, either spending my time at the super popular Tropical Park, or at my grandparent’s house within the area. I even went to one of the elementary schools in the neighborhood.

History:

Kendale Lakes used to be home to a large Miami Jewish population, where many prominent attorneys lived there during the mid to late 70s and was considered a bedroom community until the mid to late 80s. The portion of the neighborhood east of 142nd Avenue and between both Sunset Drive and North Kendall Drive was built by Janis Homes in 1970. While the portion of the neighborhood west of 142nd Avenue was built by the Caravel Homes company around the year 1973.

There is a plaza located at 14097 Southwest 88th Street, Miami, FL 33186. Here lies a walk-through outdoor mall with many mom and pop stores called the Kendale Lakes Mall. It was a destination for locals and had many specialty shops like Second Skin, Smatt Bootery, Sentry Drugs, Mightiest Mortals and restaurants like Fiesta Tacos, The Carvery, Cozzoli’s Pizza, Tiger Tea House, and Burns Bakery as well as a Roller-Skating Ring. Now the mall has more modern selections such as Marshalls, K-mart, El Dorado, and Hobby Lobby to name a few.

During the 1970’s at the southeast corner of 137th Avenue opened a bowling alley known as Don Carter’s Kendall Lanes, it closed in 2006. During its 30-year operation time the bowling place was infamous for keeping its “authentic” look. The bowling alley featured 72 lanes which were split into two sections of 35, as well as a bar for patrons, an arcade, and billiard tables. Though its patrons were loyal to the establishment, it faced fierce competition for the near standing Bird Bowl lanes. After its closing in 2006 the shopping center kept the name Carter Plaza but is now home to a Staples, Chipotle, Panera Bakery, and a Pei Wei.

The Kendale Lakes Country Club was bought by the Miccosukee tribe. It was originally an amenity offered to local homeowners but is now open completely to the public for membership and visits. It is still surrounded by tree lined streets with a canopy of trees and lush green lawns. Coral rocks trace the entirety of its circumference and the golf course is dotted within with small lakes. At one time there was a small sandy beach and picnic area and pier, which has been removed. There are still remnants of the old pier. There were two pools at the country club, one designated for adults and the other assigned for family enjoyment. One of these pools has now been converted into a volleyball court, while the other remained as an Olympic-sized pool where the country club holds swimming lessons during the summer and spring months.

Geography:

Kendale Lakes is bounded 88th street to the South, Bird Road to the North, 147th Avenue to the West, 117th Avenue to the East. The neighborhood is located at 25°42′30″N 80°24′42″W (25.708464, -80.411610) to be precise. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.6 square miles, of which, 8.2 square miles is land and 0.4 square miles of it is water.

Points of interest:

Gold Coast Railroad Museum

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum was founded in 1957 and officialized in 1984 as one of the three official Florida State Railroad Museums. The museum is dedicated to the preservation, exhibition, and operation of historic equipment. It holds over 40 rail cars and features the Presidential Rail Car named the Ferdinand Magellan. The area in which the museum is now located was once the Naval Air Station Richmond, which was the second largest airship base in the United States during World War 2. The area was most likely chosen as a result of the 2 miles of track that were once a part of the air base, making it the perfect place to put up a railroad museum. Along with its trains the museum also includes an exhibit based on the Naval Air Station Richmond, displays of rail equipment, Thomas the Tank Engine play tables, and a model train railroad room.

Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami stands as the oldest and largest zoo in the state of Florida and is ranked fifth largest within the United States. It is the only subtropical zoo in the country and as a result of Miami’s unique climate the institution can house and care for animals from Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, and South America. Allowing a huge variety of species, the likes of which cannot be found at any other zoo in the country. It is constantly being renovated and now features a new dinosaur exhibit allowing for patrons to not only learn about the animals of the present but also those of the distant past.

Green spaces

There are four major parks and fields within Kendale Lakes area.

Kendall Indian Hammocks Park

First off, we have Kendall Indian Hammocks Park located at 11395 SW 79 Street, Miami, FL. This park is a big hit for anyone that enjoys skate boarding, inline skating, and BMX thanks to the featured 14,000 square foot outdoor concrete plaza.

Kendale Lakes Park

This park is located on 7850 SW 142 Avenue, Miami, FL. It features lush green fields, various playgrounds for children to play with their parents or on their own, tennis and basketball courts, a recreational center, as well as offering visitors to rent out park shelters to host their own events.

Westwind Lakes Park

Finally, we have Westwind Lakes Park located at 6805 SW 152 Avenue, Miami, FL  It is mostly popular amongst families with small children as the park features a water pad allowing for children and parents to have a fun day splashing around during the summer season. It also has a skate park which has two six foot quarter pipes, rails, launch and bank ramps, a wall ride, stairs and different sized hubbas(a ledge that angles down a set of stairs). This skate park was also the first stop of Tony Hawks 2011 tour. So, whether you are a skateboarding enthusiast or are looking for an interactive family day, you should visit Westwind Lakes Park.

Restaurants:

Mr. and Mrs. Bun

A Peruvian deli and dessert shop. The locale is small but super personal and allows its patrons the time to sit down and enjoy their meals. Highly recommended are their sandwiches and honestly anything as all their food is made from scratch and positively delicious.

FINKA Table and Tap & Amelia’s 1931

Attached Video is a link to a short video depicting the creation story and explanation of what both FINKA Table and Tap and Amelia’s 1931 are and represent.

Neighborhood Interviews:

Jose Adrian Barboza:

Background: an immigrant from the country of Costa Rica, he has lived in the area for most of his adolescence and young adulthood. He has experienced both his high school and college years in this neighborhood and is currently enrolled in the Miami Dade Honors College.

Melissa Rodriguez:

Background: A mother of two girls and wife to Carlos Rodriguez, she grew up in the neighborhood and moved away during her early career and adulthood. Decided to come back to the area to start a family, has been living inside the neighborhood since the birth of her first daughter 3 years ago. 

  1. What is your favorite aspect about the city? The safety and proximity to essential stores.
  • What is your least favorite aspect about the city? How far west the neighborhood is from major locations and workplace in coral gables area.
  • Do you enjoy living here? Yes
  • If you could change anything about Kendale Lakes, what would it be? The traffic during rush hour, definitely to reduce that.
  • Has the area benefitted you in any way since you started your family? Well my home is conveniently close to drug stores for last minute, middle of the night necessities. Plus having top rated public schools nearby.
  • Oh, alright anything else? I know there are a few go to parks and even though we cannot really go out do you tend to make use of them. Yes! We take the girls to the park a lot and having two within walking distance is really great.

Overall, Kendale Lakes residence safe in this area and as a result feel more inclined to participate in outdoor activities. The neighborhood then can be described as a safe place for the family environment as a result of the top-class schools and parks as well as its accessibility to critical services. It has one minor flaw however, as a result of it being located so far west commuters that work in the metropolitan area have a negative experience due to the long traffic that prevents them from getting home in a timely manner.

Population:

As of the 2010 Census there were a total of 56,148 residences within the Kendale Lakes area along with 19,185 households, with 4.7% being vacant. There is a household average of 3.14 people and a family household average of 3.4. The 2019 estimates have a 4.6% in children under 5 years, an 18.1% in persons under 18 years, a 16.8% in persons 65 years and over, and a 52.7% in female persons. These percentages are based on the total population estimate. They also have an average household income of $56,017 in 2018 dollars, with 63.6% of residents working in the civilian labor force.

Works Cited:

  1. “HOME About Us.” (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2020, from

https://www.goldcoastrailroadmuseum.org/

  • “About Us. (n.d.).” Retrieved April 19, 2020, from

https://www.zoomiami.org/about-the-zoo

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