The city of Miami Gardens has come a long way from being a city once plagued by crime, declining employment and poverty. The reality is, Miami Gardens has made tremendous strides, and have reached many milestones in reinventing its community. In the wake of the alleged crime rate, the city’s reputation had began to diminish, residents had began to lose hope in the city, and tourist had avoided visiting altogether–that’s now water under the bridge.
When I first set my sights on moving to South Florida, which was a destination 3 hours south of my hometown, Mims– Central Florida (Brevard County) I specifically searched for cities in “Broward County and Miami Dade-County”. These were the counties I’d been hearing about when people spoke of Miami, therefore I was eager to start there. The first city that stood out to me when I searched cities in “Miami-Dade County” was ” Miami Gardens”. I was unfamiliar with the areas, therefore I had no knowledge of what each city bestowed, which is why I had no knowledge of what the city had to offer. As I dove deeper, and took a closer look at Miami Gardens is when I discovered it had a violent reputation, and I was “warned” that it wasn’t a place suitable for a single mother to raise two daughters. This discovery was disappointing to say the least, but despite the news, I still found slight interest in this city. Maybe it was curiosity, nevertheless I wanted to know more.
The city’s name caught my attention, and based off of that, I’d pictured Miami Gardens to be non other than ” A Garden Of Eden”, a place that was the epitome of a tropical paradise. I pictured clean air, tall palm trees, beautiful clear blue beaches, mansions, wealth, glitz, and glam, residents who owned their own businesses, had yachts, and their children, and grand children attended private schools. I imagined a city depiction of South Beach, and Vegas tied into one city. , I had thought that this was the city that would allow all my dreams to come true. Unfortunately, my search produced the opposite. I’d found reports, and reviews that Miami Gardens wasn’t a place you even wanted to drive through, and for the first two years of my residency in South Florida I dared to go near Miami Gardens– I read reports of the city’s crime rate, and it was allegedly at an all time high, there were no jobs, and the residents were struggling to find decent living conditions. Whew, it was a lot to take in!
Upon this discovery I decided to move to Pembroke Pines instead, and I later opened my business in Miramar. About one year later, my career began to take me to every corner of South Florida, and that included, “Miami Gardens”. I found myself networking, connecting, and engaging with residents of Miami-Gardens– At first I was unaware of where these people lived, it wasn’t untilI began to actually engage with them that I found out they were residents of Miami Gardens. This surprised me, because my perspective of Miami Gardens, and it’s residents was painted entirely different than what I’d been actually seeing. Puzzled? I was dumb founded. I couldn’t understand how the headlines depiction of this city left out what was actually going on.
Fortunately, my job shed a whole new light on the city of Miami Gardens. This stuck out to me, because my initial thought of the residents of Miami Gardens was that the people there were animals, criminals, and just didn’t care about their city. This wasn’t the case at all. I personally found that the city of Miami Gardens is simply still being judged, and slandered based off of past incidents that people haven’t forgotten, and those incidents are revisited based upon any present day incident that occurs. Outsiders are demonizing the city of Miami Gardens based off the same crimes that are committed in any other area of the county.
As I began to sit down, and talk one-on one with a few business owners, residents, and students of the city I quickly realized that this city had been simply demonized by the media, and made to believe that Miami Gardens was a horrible place to visit, and live. This city’s reputation was all a hoax–I mean, of course it has it’s isolated incidents, but so do other cities. One thing’s for certain, Crime doesn’t discriminate, and we can never be too sure as to when, or where a crime will take place.
By conducting my own research, going into the city, sitting down with residents, and business owners, and even attending Miami-Dade college ; an institution I specifically selected, because I wanted to get up close and personal with the youth of the city to find out what was really going on in the city; I discovered that Miami Gardens is simply a family oriented community occupied by human beings who’re simply trying to make the best of the hand that they were dealt.
The residents of this city are hard working people, students, and business owners who’re desperately trying to make a better life for themselves. It’s been my observation that these residents aren’t responsible for the handful of individuals who choose to take the wrong path in life. They’re not like the bad apples of the bunch; they want something out of life, and they want more than anything for the individuals that are giving their city a bad name to be brought to justice, and removed from their city– The residents of Miami Gardens backs were once against the wall, but now they’re speaking out, and standing up against the bullies who rampage their streets, and whom are taking the innocent lives of their children.
There’s hardly any reports of the humanitarians, civic leaders, role models, and mentors in this city who’re doing all that they can to salvage their community. These leaders are out everyday leading by example, reaching out to the youth, educating, and empowering the younger generation in efforts to keep the crime rate down, and ensure that the youth of the city has a life long promising future. Likewise, I’ve seen small businesses rally, hold fundraisers, and free events to uplift, and motivate the community to bring about change. These local businesses are also a contributing factor to Miami Gardens economic growth.
A New Miami Gardens Is On The Horizon
What the vast majority of outsiders don’t know is that the city of Miami Gardens is cleaning up it’s act, and redeveloping the city as a whole. Mayor Oliver Gilbert has taken the redevelopment of his community personal, in which he vows to “build a new Miami Dade County that speaks to the needs, and ambitions of all of it’s residents”. Accompanied by his fellow city council counterparts, Mayor Gilbert is confident that his city will become a mecca for international spectators as the city takes center stage.
“WE CAN BUILD A COMMUNITY THAT’S A GREAT PLACE TO VISIT AND LIVE. AN ECONOMY THAT’S THE ENVY OF THE WORLD; A NEW MIAMI-DADE COUNTY THAT SPEAKS TO THE NEEDS AND AMBITIONS OF ALL ITS RESIDENTS” — Mayor Oliver Gilbert
There’s no uncertainty that 2020 marks the start of a more aggressive approach of the Miami Gardens community’s journey towards history in the making– the city has reached historical heights in it’s efforts to achieving economic growth, encouraging healthier lifestyles, and celebrating the essence of African American culture by implementing an array of family oriented attractions, and nightlife entertainment. From Active living in Miami Gardens, SuperFest, Beyond the music to Hot Spots, visitors get a chance to experience “A Taste Of the new Miami Gardens”.
Miami Gardens even has it’s own community magazine, “Discover Miami Gardens” that highlight the essence of the city. Rolling Oaks park being one of the city’s destinations for residents and visitors to indulge in Miami Gardens outdoors.
The accomplishments, and strides of this city makes celebrating black history month that much more important to the residents, and businesses of this community, in which the city rightfully celebrates black history month everyday of the year. Despite it’s past reputation, once a city of hopelessness, is now a city of believable possibilities. Residents are starting to take notice to the changes the city is undergoing, and these actions are trending amongst South Florida natives.
The birth of a new Miami Gardens is upon delivering. Miami Gardens is becoming that place where people are starting to revisit, and are beginning to move back into the city. The fight to take back the city of Miami Gardens is far from over, but the city is prepared to do whatever it takes to take the city out of the trenches, and put it in the “Gardens” of what’s livable, safe, and beneficial to the economy.
The city of Miami Gardens is definitely on a mission. You can look forward to revisiting this city, and you will find that it’s nothing how it used to be. To find out more about the city of Miami Gardens, you can pick up a copy of the city’s “Discover Miami Gardens Magazine”, or visit their website at www.miamigardens-fl.gov
Sadly, the county of Miami-Dade gets more negative news coverage than it gets coverage of the good, and positive things that are going on within the county, and city. I haven’t found the city to be any more threatening than any other city in Miami. I’ve observed a city full of frustrated residents who’re tired of the media painting their city in a negative light. The negativity has stunted the growth of this thriving city, and it continues to threaten the success of small businesses scattered throughout the county.
The negative press threatens the survival of this community, and all the businesses that have setup shop will continue to suffer. It’s important to raise awareness as to how it’s okay to come into the city of Miami Gardens to do business. No city anywhere can successfully thrive with a bad reputation. It makes it that much harder for businesses to sell their products, or services, which then inevitably, the economy of Miami Gardens will crash.
Contrary to many beliefs, there are a lot of nice restaurants, bars and lounges within this county, and it would be such a tragedy if they all were forced to close their doors due to the misconception, and poor representation of the city’s reputation.
Just to name a few (List Not Rated)
- Sundays Eatery
- Nomi Bar and Grill
- Chef Creole
- Finger Licking
- I SeeFood Miami
- Perry Wings
- House Of Flavor
- Arlines Soul Food
- Lorna’s Caribbean
- Jackson Soul Food
- Chef Tally
- Crab Man 305
- The Licking
- Eloise & Earnesteine Soul Food
- World Famous House Of Mac
- Donna’s Jamaican Restaurant
- World Famous Rib Shack
It’s imperative that people know the truth about what’s happening in the city of Miami Gardens, and what’s happening isn’t all “Bad”