By Alejandra “Alex” Argudin, CAPP, LEED AP
Do you ever look at an underutilized parking lot and think to yourself, “There is so much potential to do something great for the community here!” As more and more high-rises transform the skylines and the hustle and bustle of cities are palpable, the need to help create a balance for residents has become a priority.
In that pursuit, when Nick Katz, founder of a not-for-profit organization called Skate Free, approached us a few years back, we were delighted to be the conduit that created the partnership between our organization, the City of Miami, and the Florida Department of Transportation to support the vision of creating the first skate park of its kind in the heart of downtown Miami.
Four years in the making, the Miami Parking Authority unveiled the free skate park on November 16, 2019 in an underutilized parking lot under Interstate 95. With a new unique use, delighted skateboarders from all over are flocking in record numbers to visit and exhibit their skills in the facility.
We always saw this project as a great opportunity to build community by bringing people together, while also serving as a catalyst for economic development by activating a less-frequented area of downtown Miami. The social value of a skate park is immeasurable. These facilities not only encourage physical activity and enhance wellness, but also serve to engage young people with adults who could potentially become role models and mentors.
Alejandra “Alex” Argudin, CAPP, LEED AP, is chief operations officer of the Miami Parking Authority.