Homeowner's Corner: Rolling Oaks
Miami Gardens Families Unite was excited to catch up with Ms. Gale Olivia Cunningham, an indomitable community activist, to learn more about the history of the Rolling Oaks community.
Ms. Cunningham currently serves as President of the Rolling Oaks Homeowners Association. Officially recognized as “Rolling Oaks Estates” in County documentation, the neighborhood was developed in the late 70’s and has established a reputation as home to some of the most influential, successful, and politically active residents in Miami Gardens. Many of Rolling Oaks residents have lived here for over 40 years. There are 199 homes in the neighborhood bordered by 19th Avenue to the West, Florida’s Turnpike to the East, and NW 195th street to the North. The southern limit varies from 191st street down to Rolling Oaks park depending on which side of 17th avenue you’re standing on. Read on to learn more about Rolling Oaks, as told by Ms. Cunningham, and get an understanding of her vision for one of the most powerful HOA’s in the Gardens.
Who are some of the unsung trailblazers of Rolling Oaks?
My family moved to Rolling Oaks on March 12, 1980. Mr. Fletcher was a builder who built these houses. The first time we got together was at the home of our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. John Saunders on 189th Terrace. The community met frequently in their home. They were so instrumental. They were the mother and father of the Rolling Oaks Homeowners Association. They called Mr. Saunders the ‘Mayor of Rolling Oaks.’ He was like a pillar.
Everyone had each others phone number. If someone came on this side and Mrs. Saunders didn’t recognize the car, she would call you at work and tell you, “Say listen, there is a car parked outside of your house, I don’t know who it is but they do not belong in Rolling Oaks!” They’d tell whomever, “I seen you drive by two times and you are not from here.”
On occasion you would see the neighborhood ladies, led by Neta Scruggs, come by with big baskets, the welcome committee. Block parties were held also.
What inspired you to take on the role of HOA president?
Betty T. Ferguson had been president of the Rolling Oaks HOA for years. She does so much for the community, city, state and the nation. I was proud of all that history, and I took on a more active role in advocating for the community’s needs. I can see where it has sustained itself. This community still has a lot of worker bees. There are those who are very proud to be residents here, along with those that are new. A trailblazer like Betty has given those moving in a strong example of what it means to be active neighbors. They have a choice; do I want to be a part of this or not? Pride in community is vital. That sustainability is what made me say, ok you can do this. If this community has done this for 50 years, you can come in after a trailblazer like Commissioner Ferguson and continue to enhance it. I’m not going behind something that’s broken. Now I just have to keep it solid.
What are some of the Rolling Oaks HOA’s proudest accomplishments?
We don’t give up! The members of this community planned the Rolling Oaks park. The County didn’t come together and decide, oh, let’s do this, it happened on 189th Terrace. We put the program together, presented it to Miami-Dade County, and had to get all the permits from the County. That’s why Rolling Oaks Park is there.
Since November 2015, we’ve been working to have a putting green added to Rolling Oaks Park [through the Obligation bond]. The plans were finally approved in 2021. Now, Rolling Oaks will be a premier park, a regional park! Residents who play or aspire to play golf can do so in the community. Youth and senior citizens, just bring your putters and your balls and play golf. There will also be the opportunity for lessons. When ready, we can go nearby to the Country Club of Miami and continue to build the skills they are learning. We are giving our kids an opportunity to be exposed to another sport instead of just football, basketball, etc. Exposure leads to opportunities of choice.
What is your current mission as HOA president and what are some of your most important responsibilities?
Sustainability and enhancing the lives of the people and the homeowners of Rolling Oaks. Our slogan is, “Together, we are making a difference.” I have a very strong team. Our board is very strong. It allows me the opportunity to delegate with authority. They listen, they hear, and will go to the nth degree to make sure what’s needed to get done is done. Our mission is to promote respect for the community, make sure the community is safe, our residents are safe, and they have a voice.
We’ve made door hangers to make residents aware of ordinances, and updated contact information. Sometimes a resident has an issue, and there is already a nucleus group working on it. We are three or four steps ahead of it, but if you aren’t informed through the HOA, and think we haven’t made any steps. I had a neighbor who asked about stop drains. We'd already brought that to the attention of the Miami Gardens City Manager. We maintain a chart to know what’s needed to be done and keep tabs on the status, follow-up until issues are resolved. A committee member discovered that the woman’s drain had already been cleaned and she didn’t know it.
We want our neighbors to be informed and educated about not just Rolling Oaks, but Miami Gardens as a whole. If you are a person who wants to take the lead on getting it done, we make you a part of the process. Come, bring your chair, have your say, and we will listen. We will do it all together as one united voice. When we shine as Rolling Oaks, that will spread to the rest of the city.
What are some of the challenges this neighborhood faces and how are you working with City officials to address them?
Speeding down the corridor of NW 17th ave from 183rd to 195th Street, but specifically to 191st. People doing donuts on 191st and 17th. One of our resident's mailbox was knocked down, a car almost hit it twice. He put the house for sale one time after they ran into his wall. Residents complained, but weren’t aware of work being done. We submitted info to City and County officials. Traffic studies were done. We could not get speed bumps, but were able to get the flashing speeding lights. There is now a three-way stop as a result of our work. Unfortunately, there are people still violating. They tell me, “Gale, I know we don’t want anyone to get hurt, but most of the violators are homeowners!” We must remind ourselves not to violate traffic laws.
We want to sustain the conditions that make visitors and prospective residents say, “That’s what I want to see.” Commercial vehicles and big boats should not be out front or parked on the side of yards. It’s violating codes and the Miami Gardens code enforcement will act on it. Information on our door hangers detail what’s good what’s bad, and the fines you can receive. We want to educate, and once you are aware, we expect you to conform. You’ll always have a few who say, “No, I’m not doing it.” If you do not conform to what is asked of you, then we are all going to suffer. It affects all of us if others choose to violate.
For Rolling Oaks homeowners who are not involved with the HOA, why should they become involved?
Our biggest investment is our home. Everything we do directly or indirectly affects you anyway. We want to continue to enhance the quality of life, and we want you to be a part of it. Once you have history and a sense of pride, then you want to maintain it. Anybody that comes in, they are coming into a richness. Sometimes we choose not to put the word ‘association’ on it. We want residents to know this is a neighborhood. All Rolling Oaks homeowners should know they are a part of it.
Neighbors who are involved make others aware. Not everyone has the same circumstances.
Rolling Oaks is a proud community in the City of Miami Gardens, we do not see ourselves as a separate entity. Anything we pursue is for the betterment of our city. Anything that we can do to enhance our City, we will do.
We would love to have a representative of every home be apart of our Rolling Oaks HOA. We meet quarterly and the next meeting is tonight. We work between meetings because we know we aren’t making progress if we have the same agenda at the next meeting. The majority of agenda items from the last meeting will not be on this new agenda because they have been resolved or being actively attended.
Neighbors, please contact me, via call, texts or email. Please request your contact information be added to our database. You will be informed as an active neighbor during, after and before meetings. Information provided will include Board of Directors contact info, resources, discussion items, collaboration standings, proactive responses to queries and concerns related to your Rolling Oaks Neighborhood.
Meet and greet your neighbors. Together, again, making a difference.
2022 Rolling Oaks Homeowners Association Quarterly Meetings via ZOOM
January 27, 2022 6:00p.m.
April 21, 2022 6:00 p.m.
July 28, 2022 6:00 p.m.
Zoom Meeting ID: 231 625 5206 or One Tap Mobile 1-929-436-2866 or 1-231-625-5206
Gale Cunningham, President