MEET THESE LOCALS: Jennifer Llerena and Maria Font saw an opportunity to make it easier to get to a roundabout park in Miami Springs. After receiving funds from The Miami Foundation’s Public Space Challenge, they’re ready to activate the neighborhood green space and help beautify their community in the process.
WHAT THEY’RE DOING: In the middle of a roundabout in Miami Springs sits a park with a gazebo. The park is also dotted with big shade trees and benches – a perfect place for relaxing.
The only problem: there’s no safe way to get to Circle Park.
“You have to get there by jaywalking, and that’s kind of dangerous when you have a roundabout surrounding this beautiful park,” said Jennifer.
So the idea they submitted to the 2018 Public Space Challenge was to add two crosswalks to make it safer to access the park, as well as add a butterfly garden to attract residents who have long considered the park “off limits.” The Miami Foundation awarded the duo $18,000 to make it happen.
Jennifer and Maria hope to have the crosswalks and butterfly gardens in place by the end of 2019.
FUN FACT: Both Jennifer and Maria are volunteers with Bound by Beauty, a local nonprofit whose mission is to transform how residents interact with nature to create a safer and healthier community. They do so by encouraging Miamians to build gardens and create green spaces filled with native pollinator plants so butterflies can flourish.
QUOTABLE: “Don’t get discouraged. A lot of people will tell you, ‘No,’” said Maria. “The thing that you want may seem out of reach or not possible, and working with your city council and the county may seem daunting. It’s really not.” The Miami Foundation not only provides funds, but they also provide technical help and other support to help make your idea a success.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED: The Public Space Challenge is currently accepting ideas on how to better improve mobility in Miami-Dade. Submit your Public Space Challenge ideas by May 16.
If you have the start of an idea – or maybe a big, ambitious one – attend an upcoming workshop. The Miami Foundation helped Jennifer and Maria with theirs.
“They really helped us narrow it down, refine it, and crystallize what would be the most effective thing for the amount of money that we would probably get,” Maria said. “They encouraged us to be realistic about our expectations and also it really helped us set goals that were attainable.”