You gotta love it when a plan comes together.
The cities of Surfside, Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, and Sunny Isles Beach joined forces to build the recently opened 7,500-square-foot skate park and pump track at Haulover Park (10800 Collins Ave.). The project — which is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and free to the public, excluding parking fees for vehicles — is meant to fill the void left after Town Center Skate Park in Sunny Isles Beach closed in 2016 because of noise issues.
“When [Town Center Skate Park] closed down, there was nothing in the northeast corridor of Miami-Dade County,” Surfside Mayor Daniel Dietch says. “Kids were skating on the street and using natural features as their playground. Skating isn’t a crime, but from an administrative vantage point, it can be a nuisance.”
By building a new skate park, Dietch believed the municipalities could provide skaters a proper outlet for their grinds, ollies, nollies, kickflips, and heelflips. And the pump track? That was meant to give the park a more inclusive skate-plaza element that also welcomes bicycles, inline skates (because Miami-Dade is one of the places where people still enjoy rollerblading), and scooters.
Funding this $267,000 hybrid project, however, was no small task.
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“We realized we didn’t have enough funding in Sunny Isles alone,” Dietch says, “so we went to each community and said, ‘Here’s the idea: Every participating community puts in $50,000, and Sunny Isles pays the remaining balance.’ In every community, there was a unanimous vote [in favor of the park]... It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you get a number of municipalities focused on a single goal.”
Dietch says kids across South Florida, from Homestead to Broward County, have been using the new facilities, and he hopes the county takes notice of its popularity. He adds there's talk of building something similar at Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah.
The cause has a special place in Dietch's heart. He was a skateboarder until college and is the father of two skateboarding sons. He eventually picked up the hobby again 15 years ago when his family bought him a longboard for his birthday.
“I learned that it was an incredible way to get around town,” says Dietch, who is also an avid surfer and mountain-biker. “It’s a great way for me to get to town hall."