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Harris Field Football, Better than Ever

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Posted: Friday, September 1, 2017 12:30 am

   Twenty-five years to the day after Hurricane Andrew made landfall to devastating effect, optimism reigned in the City of Homestead as the community gathered to celebrate the opening of Orange Bowl Field at Harris Field Park. 

    In the wake of the Hurricane Andrew, Harris Field served as emergency housing and was commonly referred to as “tent city.”  Now, thanks to a partnership between the Orange Bowl and the City of Homestead, Harris Field is a state-of-the-art football facility with new amenities for both fans and players.

   “This is truly a testament to how far the City of Homestead has come and how much we have rebuilt,” said Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter.  “I want to thank the Orange Bowl Committee and our City Staff who helped to make this incredible renovation possible.”

   Enthusiastic members of the South Dade Community joined over 20 orange-jacketed members of the Orange Bowl Committee to celebrate the rededication of the newly remodeled Harris Stadium Football Field. Though the weather failed to cooperate, those attending were not “dampened” in spirit as the activities were moved under the shelter of the famous Pavilion. The new field is  a 2.5 million dollar project made possible by a joint effort of the Orange Bowl Committee, the Miami Dolphin Foundation and Center State Bank.

   The program started with “the awakening “ sounds of the Homestead High Band who performed in conjunction with their rally group of young men and women.  When the vibrations died down, several members of the Orange Bowl Committee spoke with accolades to our own Bob Epling who is credited as being the “Father of the Idea” by bringing attention to the needs of the area.  Once the seed was planted and it was understood that 8 High Schools used the field for home games, the need became apparent.

   In the past, the field would turn into a mud pit by mid season.  Other youth programs were restricted from using the area thus a plan of action was formed with the push and cooperation of Mayor Jeff Porter, Homestead City Council, Commissioners Dennis Moss and Daniella Levine Cava, and Dennis Maytan from Parks and Recreation.  Highlighting the importance of this program to the community was a Proclamation from Mayor Carlos Giminez’s office.

     It was noted, “Now there is a place for family, play and participation as the field was transformed by Champions of the Community.”  Also heard was, “This is a safe place to play and build character.”  One thing for sure is that this facility is an asset to the community.  Now South Dade has a quality facility that not only handles High School Football, it is durable enough to handle youth programs such as soccer. 

     At this point, the food broke out but the sun never did.   Cheers came from the crowd that included G. Holmes Braddock.   Mr. Braddock, is an avid football fan,  who served 38 years on the Miami Dade County School Board.  Playing the first game of the season was Braddock High, named in his honor against Homestead High. This is the first game at the State of the Art Harris Football Field. 

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