Maximizing Miami

“There’s another city that’s having a hard time with a dog park — you have the dog lovers and those who want it and others who think it’s a waste of green space. I’m seeing a lot of talk in the media about it, and that happens all the time. I’ve trimmed palm trees and gotten complaints about it.”

The Right Stuff

The important thing, says Corrada, is to quantify the reasoning behind a decision. Issues like safety and accessibility are integral tie-ins to any park development plan.

“There comes a point when you have to bite the bullet, do it, and deal with the outcome. You’re never going to get 100 percent consensus, so you just need to move forward,” says Corrada.

“Moving from one field to another, I’ve found that leadership is leadership no matter what you’re doing. The way you deal with people — by being fair, consistent, flexible and open to new ideas — does a lot for moving an organization in any one direction.”

Any organization is open to the pitfalls of bureaucracy, and Corrada’s emphasis is on avoiding those pitfalls, which are typically a resistance to change and innovation.

Corrada recommends looking closely at successful private businesses and how they handle customer service. After all, most of what parks and recreation districts do falls under customer service.

Toward that end, Miami has a renewed emphasis on training using what Corrada calls a “consistent and structured” system. What that means is the type of training that realizes the foundation of park management.

That foundation, in part, is a detailed eye on customer relations, regular maintenance and park cleanliness and program quantity and quality. “It’s all reflected in the actions of the department,” says Corrada.

The recent development of Margaret Pace Park is a realization of those goals. It’s unique and flexible, located on the water at Biscayne Bay, complete with volleyball, basketball and tennis courts, a bay walk, sports fields, a playground, exercise equipment and a main entrance plaza.

The city has hosted a fashion show and a short film festival, among other special events. “Ultimately, you need input from the folks in the community, because what works in one may not work in another,” says Corrada.

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