Festering tanks are a drain on the community


Article Courtesy of The Mimi Herald

Published July 23, 2005

A passerby wouldn't pay much attention to them except for the ominous notes on bright yellow paper: ``Keep your children away from these tanks.''

The notes are attached to 20 five-foot cement tanks, some cylindrical, others square, perched atop swales between sidewalks and roadways in Northwest Miami-Dade's tiny Vista Verde/Miramar Gardens.

They were placed there almost two years ago

as part of a plan to update an aging underground storm water drainage system. But there's been no progress: the streets still flood, and worse,

the containers attract standing water, rotting garbage and curious children.


Sadly, everyone affected by the culverts -- Miami Gardens officials, residents and the local Community Development Corp. -- say their hands are tied. 


Miramar Gardens is private property, and the CDC is searching for a new contractor to do the work botched by the old.

IN THE CYLINDER: Water and trash

collect inside one of the many abandoned

cylinders in a Miramar Gardens development


Resident George Walker, 59, points proudly to the signs he made for the festering tanks.

''I did everything to protect the people, because the kids used to hide in there,'' said Walker.

So far it's worked. The kids stay away.


But now the containers are used as giant trash bins filled with old tires, bottles and cans.


Socorro Galvez, 50, held her daughter tightly last week as she edged close to one of the community's more pungent fixtures.

''When they cut the grass they put all the garbage in there, instead of taking it away,'' she said.

Worse, the standing water attracts mosquitoes. Taimira Perez, 43, who lives near NW 214th Street and 40 Circle Court, lifts her shirt and points out a big welt on her back.

''The county sprays the garbage for mosquitoes,'' she said.

``The guy told me the spray makes the bugs go crazy, they fly the wrong way and grow two heads.''

Perhaps she's exaggerating. Still, would these immovable garbage bins be accepted in some of our wealthier communities, say Coral Gables or Aventura?

Two years ago, Miami-Dade County gave the Universal Truth Community Development Corporation $1.5 million to buy the tanks and cover drainage construction costs.


The initial contractor promptly skipped out on the job. Now the CDC wants another.

The county and Miami Gardens will not help because of various private property issues.

Fining the tiny homeowners group where the tanks are located would only set things back further, said Miami Gardens Public Works Director Tom Ruiz.

''We don't own the interior streets. If so, this would have been resolved a long time ago. I wish I could help these people,'' Ruiz said.

Accustomed to knee-deep floods outside her door, Perez has an apt name for the containers.

''Just get the monsters out of here,'' she said.

Help may be on the way.

Blossoming Rose Mincey, director of the Universal Truth CDC, said she met with aides Thursday to discuss hiring a new contractor.


''Some [tanks] need to be tilted over to drain water. We're going to get a handyman to do that,'' she said. ``The community dumps stuff in there, but we're taking the responsibility of the cleanup. It'll happen in the next few days.''