Sometimes prosperity blooms after hardship, and such was the case with the Village of Palmetto Bay. In 1992, South Florida was hit by one of its most powerful storms ever as Hurricane Andrew carved a path of destruction, causing widespread damage to homes and businesses from Kendall to Key Largo. As folks rebuilt their lives and homes, people living in what is now Palmetto Bay became frustrated with the county’s methods and lack of customer service. Palmetto Bay residents wanted closer access to municipal resources, an improved police presence, better park maintenance and greater control over their own affairs. This myriad of concerns eventually coalesced into one big dream: a community that was not only self-reliant but also self-governing.
Its road to incorporation was long and challenging. The Alliance of Palmetto South Homeowners Association petitioned the county to incorporate the area in 1995. Seven years passed while a newly formed steering committee held public meetings and hearings, gathered support and developed a set of goals and values to represent their new village. Above all, they sought to improve safety, enhance public areas and upgrade parks and recreation services. They also wanted more public participation in local government and an easier process to develop regulations. The efforts of the founders were rewarded when the Village of Palmetto Bay was officially incorporated on September 10, 2002.
Twenty years later, Palmetto Bay’s purpose and vision remain the same: to focus on the comfort and safety of its residents. “What a rich history the Village of Parks has, both before and after incorporation,” says Mayor Karyn Cunningham. “Our early Village pioneers worked hard to create a community that would be known for its parks and recreational activities.” The Village’s three existing parks were renovated, two more were added and a sixth is currently under design. Village Manager Nick Marano adds, “We’re amid developing a new Parks Master Plan to guide us for the next 10 years or so. We should have it presented to the community and the Village Council in December, and to support projects in 2023, I’m proposing to set aside $500,000 to address items that we can get started on right away.”
To ensure that its citizens can enjoy those green spaces — along with all areas of the village — in peace, Palmetto Bay has invested heavily in its police force and built strong relationships between law enforcement and residents. “The Village is now known as one of the safest communities in Miami-Dade County,” Mayor Cunningham says. Besides significant improvements to its parks and public safety, Palmetto Bay has also focused on infrastructure improvements, from roadway resurfacing to flood mitigation and more. “We’re also continuing to improve our resiliency to flooding through massive improvements in physical infrastructure,” Village Manager Marano points out. “We have a 10-year Stormwater Master Plan, and in the first 2 years alone, we will have budgeted nearly $4 million in new drainage projects.”
Anniversaries are milestones meant to be celebrated. Palmetto Bay takes pride in reaching this 20-year marker, but as a young, vibrant city with a long and exciting journey ahead, we can’t wait to see what the future will bring.
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