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Miami Gardens is a suburban city located in north-central Miami-Dade County, Florida. Its boundaries stretch from I-95 and NE 2nd Avenue on the east, to NW 47th and NW 57th Avenues on the west, and from the Broward County line on the north, to 151st Street on the south. The city name comes from one of the major roadways through the area, Miami Gardens Drive. According to a 2011 estimate from the US Census Bureau, the city had a population of 109,680, and it is the largest city in Florida that has a majority African American population. It is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.
In the wake of the construction of I-95 in the late 1960s, many middle and upper income African American and West Indian American families migrated from Miami neighborhoods like Liberty City to what became Miami Gardens (also called Carol City, Norland or Norwood) as race-based covenants were outlawed with the Fair Housing Act, and mostly lower income blacks moved into the Liberty City and Little Haiti neighborhoods surrounding Liberty Square and Edison Courts.
Miami Gardens was incorporated on May 13, 2003. The city's neighborhoods of Andover, Bunche Park, Carol City, Lake Lucerne, Norland, Opa-locka North, and Scott Lake were previously unincorporated areas within Miami-Dade County.
In 2007, Mayor Shirley Gibson said that the city would no longer allow any low income housing developments; many residents blamed the developments for spreading crime and recreational drugs throughout the city. Around that time the city's tax revenues dropped to being the third lowest in Miami-Dade County.
In 2012, Oliver Gilbert, only the second mayor the city has had, proposed to form a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). CRAs are formed to remove "slum and blight", to improve the physical environment of the city and to combat the social and economic problems typical of slum areas. CRAs are funded with property tax increases, which funds are used, in part, to stimulate private investment in the rehabilitation of the community. Once inaugurated, Mayor Gilbert expressed confidence that a CRA would have the effect of stimulating economic growth in Miami Gardens and proposed to establish one.
Police misconduct against Earl Sampson, who was repeatedly questioned, detained, jailed, and/or arrested for trespassing at his own workplace, against the wishes of his boss, occurred from 2008 until roughly 2013.
The city was incorporated in 2003, but various parts of the city appear as census designated places in the 2000 census and previous censuses. They now make up the neighborhoods of Andover, Bunche Park, Carol City, Lake Lucerne, Norwood, Opa-locka North, and Scott Lake. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Miami Gardens was 109,680 on July 1, 2011, a 2.3% increase since the 2010 census.
In 2010, there were 34,284 housing units of which 6.0% are vacant. As of 2000, the age distribution was 6.9% under the age of 5, 7.1% from 5 to 9, 7.7% from 10 to 14, 17% from 15 to 24, and 13% 25 to 34, 12.9% 35 to 44, 13.3% 45 to 54, 10.8% 55 to 64 and 11.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The population is 46.8% male and 53.2% female. Family households made up 78.4%, while 21.6% were non-family households. The average household size was 3.28 members, and the city covered 20 square miles.
As of 2000, the Bunche Park neighborhood of Miami Gardens had the ninth highest percentage of African-American and black residents in the US, with 96.5% of the populace. It also was the most Bahamian place in the United States, as well as having the highest percentage of British West Indians in the US, at 1.8% (which tied with Brentwood, Maryland.) It was also home to the fifty-third highest percentage of Haitians in the US, at 2.8% of all residents (which also tied with Sunrise, Lake Alfred and Brentwood, New York.)
As of 2000, the Carol City section of Miami Gardens had the twenty-seventh highest percentage of Cuban residents in the US, with 18.75% of the populace. It had the nineteenth highest percentage of Jamaican residents in the US, at 5.80% (which tied with Lake Park, Florida,) and the thirty-ninth highest percentage of Dominican residents in the US, at 3% of its population. It also had the fifty-sixth most Haitians in the US, at 2.50% (tied with five other areas in the US, including Plantation and Taft, Florida) while it had the twentieth highest percentage of Nicaraguans, at 2.20% of all residents. The Carol City neighborhood of Miami Gardens is also home to the seventieth highest percentage of Colombian residents in the US, at 2.15% of the population.
As of 2000, before being annexed to Miami Gardens, the Andover neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 74.96% of all residents, while Spanish accounted for 17.91%, French Creole accounted for 4.61%, French made up 1.58%, West African Niger-Congo languages (Kru, Igbo and Yoruba) were at 0.52%, and Yiddish was the mother tongue for 0.39% of the population.
As of 2000, before being annexed to Miami Gardens, the Bunche Park neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 95.97% of all residents, while Spanish was at 3.07%, and French Creole as a mother tongue made up 0.94% of the population.
As of 2000, before being annexed to Miami Gardens, the Carol City neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 53.73% of all residents, while Spanish accounted for 43.16%, and French Creole as a mother tongue made up 2.15% of the population.
As of 2000, before being annexed to Miami Gardens, the Lake Lucerne neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 82.27% of all residents, while Spanish accounted for 14.16%, French Creole was at 2.55%, and French as a mother tongue made up 1.00% of the population.
As of 2000, before being annexed to Miami Gardens, the Norland neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 74.87% of all residents, while French Creole accounted for 12.92%, Spanish was at 10.19%, and French as a mother tongue made up 1.02% of the population.
As of 2000, before being annexed to Miami Gardens, the Opa-Locka North neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 75.24% of all residents, while Spanish was spoken by 21.04%, French Creole was at 3.27%, and Jamaican Creole as a mother tongue made up 0.44% of the population.
As of 2000, before being annexed to Miami Gardens, the Scott Lake neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 85.76% of all residents, while 6.81% spoke Spanish, French Creole accounted for 5.83%, French was at 0.93%, and Jamaican Creole as a mother tongue made up 0.64% of the population.
According to City Rating, Miami Gardens crime statistics have decreased in the past 7 years. The crimes that have decreased the most are property crimes and violent crimes. The crime rate for Miami Gardens for 2012 is expected to be lower than in 2010. Miami Garden's city violent crime rate was 138.67% higher than the national violent crime rate. City property crime rate was 66.98% higher than the national property crime rate.
In 2010 Miami Garden's city violent crime rate was higher than the violent crime rate in Florida by 77.64% and the city property crime rate was 38.05% higher.
In 2010, there were 663 reported cases of aggravated assault, 12 reported cases of arson, 1,321 reported cases of burglary, 25 cases of forcible rape, 3,515 cases of larceny and theft, 574 reported cases of motor vehicle theft, 22 reported cases of murder and manslaughter and 351 cases of robbery.
The projected 2012 crime data is as follows: 253 reported cases of aggravated assault, 0 reported cases of arson, 1,760 reported cases of burglary, 6 cases reported of forcible rape, 3,535 cases reported of larceny and theft, 489 cases report of motor vehicle theft, 30 reported cases of murder and manslaughter and 357 reported cases of robbery.
The Calder Race Course opened in 1971.
Miami Gardens is home to the Miami Dolphins, who play in Hard Rock Stadium on land that was part of the Lake Lucerne CDP. This stadium also hosts the annual Orange Bowl college football game and is the home field for the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. The Major League Baseball team Florida Marlins previously shared Hard Rock Stadium with the Dolphins for almost 2 decades. In 2012 they relocated to Miami and changed their names to the Miami Marlins.
The Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens is a megachurch with over 7,500 members, active in the community.
The city wishes to attract more commercial investment to stimulate economic growth.
The city of Miami Gardens has several health care clinics and facilities that offer medical care and support to its residents. Although the city has no hospital directly within its limits, Jackson North Medical Center, Concentra Urgent Care, and, Chen Medical Center provide medical services to the residents of Miami Gardens. Supplementing this, several health care clinics and facilities provide medical services that include general medicine, walk-in/urgent care, dental services, gynecology, physical therapy, chiropractor services, laboratory tests, x-rays, sonograms, osteoporosis screening, vaccinations, and health and exercise programs.
Miami Gardens is governed by a seven-member City Council. Members include Mayor Oliver Gilbert (since 2012), and six Council members, four elected from districts and two elected citywide. The Mayor recommends, and the City Council hires, the City Manager, City Attorney and the City Clerk.
These are 15 of the many departments for which the City Manager of Miami Gardens creates a budget.
The Miami Gardens Police Department is the lead law enforcement agency for the 110,000 residents living within the city's 20 square miles. The department operates under a unified command structure with its headquarters located at 1020 NW 163 Drive, Miami Gardens, Florida 33169. The department became operational on Sunday, December 16, 2007 with 159 sworn officers. Since then, the department has grown to 259 members consisting of 201 sworn positions with 58 non-sworn support positions.
In 2013, gross law enforcement abuses were uncovered regarding the Miami Gardens Police Department with coverage appearing in numerous news outlets. The abuses were first uncovered when it became public that a convenience store employee, Earl Sampson was arrested 27 times for trespassing, while working at and around the store at which he was employed. Video evidence was gathered by the owner of the store, Ali Saleh, showing Miami Garden police involved in clear and repeated misconduct involving his employee, and customers. According to the Miami Herald's Julie K. Brown: "The videos show, among other things, cops stopping citizens, questioning them, aggressively searching them and arresting them for trespassing when they have permission to be on the premises". It appeared Sampson had been arrested in this way due to police quotas, a department culture, and that Sampson was easy to arrest. Sampson always pleaded guilty so they would let him out almost immediately, with one exception where he pleaded not guilty, and he was jailed for 20 days. The guilty plea would validate the officers improper arrest and increment their quota, so he became a continuous target.
It was later uncovered that between 2008 and 2013, there were 99,980 stops which occurred in Miami Gardens, involving 56,922 people, over half of the city's population. This is compared to the City of Miami, where 3,753 stops occurred during the same period, with four times the population. Some of the stops included children ages 5 to 7, including over 1,000 children. These numbers were compiled after news regarding Earl Sampson began to be reported.
As a result of the attention received by these actions, the Police Chief resigned. Civil rights lawsuits have been filed against the Miami Gardens Police Department by the store owner and others who were illegally detained and/or arrested.
Norland Middle School, in the Miami Gardens area, has a magnet program in dance, music, theatre and art, which began in 1985. The young actors (Alex R. Hibbert and Jaden Piner) who starred in the Oscar-winning film, Moonlight, were trained at this school
Miami-Dade Public Library System operates the North Dade Regional Library, which opened in September 1979.
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