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Facts about Pinecrest
Pinecrest is a suburban village in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States of America. The population was 18,223 as of the census of 2010. Pinecrest is governed by a five-member Village Council and operates under the Council-Manager form of government
Pinecrest's projects since 1996 include the addition of several new parks, development of Wi-Fi technology and beautification projects which included thousands of trees being planted, unique street signs being posted Village-wide, and roads being repaved. In 2008, the Village Council dedicated the new Flagler Grove Park and the long-awaited Community Center at Pinecrest Gardens. The Pinecrest branch of the Miami-Dade County Library System opened adjacent to the Community Center in October 2008.
Pinecrest Gardens is the crown jewel of the village's park system. The park also offers various programs including summer camps. The park is located on the former site of the world famous Parrot Jungle.
History: During the 1900s, Miami pioneer and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler used the property at U.S. 1 and Southwest 102 Street as a staging area during the construction of the Overseas Railroad to the Florida Keys.
In the 1930s, the area’s growth continued and the community began to evolve around one of the first tourist attractions established in the Miami vicinity – Parrot Jungle and Gardens. Parrot Jungle was founded in 1936 by Franz and Louise Scherr on property located at Red Road and Southwest 111 Street and over the years became a world famous tourist attraction whose visitors included Sir Winston Churchill. The idea for Parrot Jungle began after Scherr, who owned and operated a feed and supply store in Homestead, Florida, became intrigued with the idea of building an attraction where birds would “fly free.” To bring his vision to life, he rented 20 acres of hammock land for an annual fee of $25. Parrot Jungle was built as a winding nature trail dug through the coral rock and hammock land, indigenous to the area. All the natural plants were left undisturbed. The entrance was built on Red Road. The attraction opened on December 20, 1936, to about 100 visitors. Each paid 25 cents admission to see and hear Scherr talk about his birds, trees and flowers. Since 1936, Parrot Jungle has attracted over a million visitors and became a world-famous tourist attraction. On December 17, 2002, the Village of Pinecrest purchased the Parrot Jungle with the aim of developing the site as Pinecrest Gardens. On March 8, 2003 the Pinecrest Village Council dedicated Pinecrest Gardens and officially opened it to the public as the Village’s newest municipal park. The attraction moved to a new waterfront location on Watson Island between Downtown Miami and Miami Beach. It was relaunched as Parrot Jungle Island.
The Miami Serpentarium, another popular tourist attraction which featured serpents (snakes) lizards and other reptiles and amphibians, was located on US 1 for many decades prior to closing in the mid-1980s.
During the 1950s and 1960s the area flourished with the development and construction of ranch-style houses on 1 acre (4,000 m²) lots which laid the foundation for the community’s rural and lushly landscaped residential character. In August 1992, Pinecrest and the surrounding South Miami-Dade area were severely devastated by the effects of Hurricane Andrew. Many of the homes and businesses in the area were destroyed. In the subsequent years, the area was slowly rebuilt. Rapid growth and local issues during the 1990s inspired a movement led by residents Evelyn Langlieb Greer and Gary C. Matzner to incorporate the area.
The Village of Pinecrest was officially incorporated on March 12, 1996. Greer was elected the first mayor and was succeeded, after serving two terms, by Matzner in 2004. The founding Village Council, including Greer, Cindie Blanck, Barry Blaxberg, Leslie Bowe, Robert Hingston, together with Village Manager Peter G. Lombardi and Village Clerk Guido Inguanzo, are credited with establishing well-regarded municipal services including police, parks and recreation, building and planning services, and public works.
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