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Dignataries, hundreds celebrate opening of Miami Gardens City Hall

Mayor Gilbert opens the building with grand ceremony, speech

Erick Johnson | 6/4/2014, 3:36 p.m.
Miami Gardens mayor Oliver Gilbert opened the new city hall building Tuesday night with a grand ceremony and a state ...

Miami Gardens mayor Oliver Gilbert opened the new city hall building Tuesday night with a grand ceremony and a State of the City Address that reaffirmed his ambitions in fighting crime and transforming the city into world-class community for middle-class Black professionals.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the complex’s courtyard, about 700 people, including community leaders, elected officials, celebrities and residents listened and cheered as Gilbert outlined his the city’s needs and goals before opening the city hall, a hi-tech, three-story, 63,000 square foot building in a new municipal complex that includes the city’s police headquarters and a three-story garage.

The event was attended by congresswoman Frederica Wilson, State. Sen. Dwight Bullard, county commissioners Barbara Jordan and Jean Monestime, School Board member Dorothy Bindross-Mindingall, School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Roslyn Artis, president of Florida Memorial University.

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Superstar rapper Flo Rida, who was born and raised in Miami Gardens, attended the event. He received a key to the city by Gilbert.

The ceremonies capped a busy afternoon of tours of the stylish facility. Guests viewed the swank council chambers, an 8,300 square foot room that can be converted into an audio visual theater with the flip of the switch. With a seating capacity of 250, the slick seats return to an upright position after they have been used.

City hall will house the city’s entire workforce including the 15 various departments. The 220-member police force will move in when the other half of the complex is complete in the coming months.

Located at 18605 NW 27 Ave., the new city hall complex has six conference rooms and a fitness center, which will opened once the equipment arrives later this summer.

“We made a commitment to create a town center atmosphere and we did it,” Gilbert told the crowds. “This is your home. So welcome home Miami Gardens.”

The new complex is a big change for the city’s 500 employees who worked in cramped quarters in the city’s temporary location on NW 15 Avenue and 167 Street for 10 years.

City hall cost $63 million to build, including $7 million in delays after workers repaired cracks in the beams of the parking garage, which has nearly 500 parking spaces.

Gilbert and community leaders praised the new complex with a big ceremony that including musical tributes and speeches. A reception with various Caribbean dishes was held afterwards on the top floor of the parking garage amid a club-like atmosphere that included posh lounge areas and entertainment by the popular, Deep Fried Funk Band.

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In his State of the City Address, Gilbert earned applause from a powerful speech that highlighted the city’s needs and accomplishments, including this year’s 9th annual Jazz in Gardens in March, which the mayor said some 66,000 people attended and enjoyed the festival that had no arrests or incidents. He also thanked Miami Dolphins Stephen Ross efforts to privately fund the renovations of Sun Life while keeping his tax obligations to the city. On that note, Gilbert stressed the need to build more hotels and restaurants to generate more revenue in Miami Gardens, saying visitors are lodging and eating at venues outside the city.