Verónica Guzmán Betancourt: Medley 2022

Student Bio

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0 

Verónica Guzmán Betancourt is a Junior at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.  She is pursuing a major in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice, while being a member of the Honors College. After graduation in Spring  2023, she plans on continuing her education in Forensic Psychology.

Geography

Town of Medley in Miami-Dade county, Florida. Photo taken from Google Maps/ CC by 4.0

Medley, Florida is a small town located in the western part of the Miami-Dade county in South Florida. The town is sandwiched between the city of Doral and Hialeah, with a total area of 4.3 square miles, of which 0.5 square miles of the town is water. 

Medley has great road coverage and accessibility, as the Ronald Reagan Turnpike sits to the westward limit of the town and US-27 (also known as West Okeechobee Road) to the east.These two major highways allow for the traffic to run the city, connecting it to other majors parts of South Florida. 

The great location finds itself only 10 miles away from Florida International University’s main campus, Modesto A. Maidique,  on 8th Street. Conveniently enough, the Miami International Airport is 8 miles away from the town center. It also has public transportation that reduces the usage of independently owned vehicles while keeping transportation efficient and reliable. 

History

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0 

Medley, Florida was named after its founder Sylvester Medley. He established his residence in the town in the early 1900s, but it was not officially incorporated until the mid 1900s. He was a farmer there until he passed away shortly after the town’s incorporation. Ever since, the small town has been thriving in an industrial boom. Its most lucrative industry is construction, with many plants splattered through the town. The biggest plants are a rinker plant and a cement plant. 

Being an industrial town, many now go there to work and live in neighboring towns. With the industrial revolution happening almost a century before the town was established, it influenced the quick growth of Medley. It has provided uncountable jobs to people of the Miami-Dade community, housing tons of manufacturers and warehouses. Many family owned and regional businesses were able to open in this welcoming area, where business is always booming. 

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0 

Even though it is a small town, it is fully equipped with all of the resources it needs to function efficiently. As explained by the town’s official website, it has departments dedicated to utilities, water, and sewage control, as well as inspectors for buildings, zoning, plumbing, electrical. The MPD, Medley Police Department, promises to protect the life and property of the community and ensure the law is always respected. The community very early on formed a great association with the government department that keeps Medley on its feet.

Demographics

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0 

According to the latest census information, that being the one from 2020, the population of Medley is 1,053. There are an estimated 207 people per square mile. The median age is 54.5 years, which is about 1.3 times higher than that of the State of Florida. About 55% of the population falls within the 18 to 64 age category, followed by 65 and over which is 32%. The census also showed that about 55% of Medley’s population is female. The race and ethnicity of the town is not evenly distributed, as it is reported to be 96% hispanic and 4% white. 

The median household income in Medley is $32,895, with 81% of the population making under $50,000. The median income is slightly over that of the State of Florida, which sits at $57,703. This leads 25.6% of Medley’s residents to lie below the poverty line, finding itself doubling that of Florida. 

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0 

There are an estimated 410 households in Medley, averaging almost 3 persons per household. About 51% of the population is married and in the remaining, 21% are female led households. It is reported that 56.8% of the population has had a high school education or high, with only 10.8% having a Bachelor’s degree and beyond. 

Most of the residents of Medley are foreigners with 79.4% being born outside the country, most are from Latin America.

Interview with Janeen Coronado

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0

Veronica: Hi Janeen, thank you so much for taking time to chat with me. To start off, could you please introduce yourself? 

Janeen: Of course, my name is Janeen Coronado. I’m a Junior at FIU, majoring in psychology. I was born in Venezuela and at the age of seven I moved my family to Florida. 

Veronica: What is your relationship with Medley? 

Janeen: When I moved from Venezuela, my parents decided to start their own company called Coronado Express. They moved around a bit but they ended up locating their business in Medley, Florida. Medley is a great location for many businesses since there’s a lot of space warehouses for the type of company my parents own. They send cargo to many places, especially in South America, where family members in the U.S. can send to their loved ones that are in need of resources in low income countries such as Venezuela or Colombia. 

Veronica: What is your favorite aspect of Medley? 

Janeen: My favorite aspect of medley is how it’s such a great town for both, a residential and for a business lifestyle.

Veronica: What is something you recommend for people to do in Medley? In particular, to those that might not know much about the town. 

Janeen: There are so many good food joints. Whenever I help my parents out at work, we go find a new place to eat. Everyone there is always so friendly and welcoming, but the food is just absolutely great.

Veronica: What is a downside to Medley? 

Janeen: Honestly, one of the things that I really dislike about it is the traffic. Miami traffic is just insane. Sometimes getting from one place to another takes forever, even if it’s just a couple miles. 

Veronica: Thank you for your insight!

Janeen: My pleasure!

Landmarks

Okeechobee MDT Station

The Okeechobee MDT station is a metrorail station that was opened for service on May 19th of 1985. It was the northern end of the metrorail system, but only until 2003 when the Palmetto Station was opened. The station is on what is considered to be an island platform, which is made up of 2 tracks. Okeechobee MDT is equipped with parking on both sides, as well as some extra parking underneath the station. This station is conveniently located only one block away from a major road, the Hialeah Expressway. 

The Historic Hampton House

The historic Hampton house is the second largest African American museum in the United States. This museum used to be a motel that was often frequented by famous individuals such as Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, and Jacki Robinson. Dr. King delivered an early version of his widely known “I have a dream” speech, at the Hampton House, in 1960. 

The Hampton house was a two story building with 50 rooms that displayed the modern Miami theme. There was a jazz club, swimming pool and restaurant. The motel was a hotspot, gaining the name the “social center of the South”. 

Famous musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., also stayed at this motel. With Miami Beach being such a great place for people to visit and only being a couple miles away, the guests would often travel there during the night and return to the Hampton house at night to relax. 

The Hampton House was forced to close in 1976 due to financial reasons, leaving it abandoned until the 2000s. The historic motel faced the threat of being demolished but thanks to an advocacy group, the Hampton House was able to remain on its feet as it was named a historic site when the county of Miami-Dade purchased the property. 

In 2015 with the help of preservationist Dr. Enid Pinkney, the Hampton House received a 6 million dollar donation. This new increased budget was what gave the new project wings that restored the Hampton House to a museum and community center. 

The Hampton House is a vital, yet often overlooked, piece of Miami’s Black history.    

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park

Although it is located slightly east of Medley, this park commemorates the great impact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had in the community. A lot of people do not actually know the history of segregation and racial discrimination that many suffered here in the late 1900s. The park is home to a statue of Dr. King which reminds us all of the great challenge he was able to overcome as he was one of the leaders in restoring civil rights in the United States. 

Green

Given the small area that Medley has, along with its main purpose, many of the green areas are outside town limits.

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0 

Botanical Gardens

Located in Hialeah, these botanical gardens consist of about 5 acres of land in which over 500 native species and over 45,000 plants are housed. Given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the gardens have allowed the public back in to visit every day of the week. One of the most convenient attributes is that there is free admission. 

13501 NW 107th Ave, Hialeah, FL 33018

Doral Glades Park

This beautiful park is multi-purpose. It has areas for picnics and a playground for children to play. There are multiple courts for people to enjoy sports like tennis, basketball, and volleyball. There is a nature center, a boardwalk, and a nature trail that caters to the outdoorsy interests of the community. This park also has an amphitheater that can be used for events that bring together people of Doral and Medley. 

7600 NW 98th Pl, Doral, FL 33178

Tobie Wilson Park

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0 

This park is located right next to the Medley Police Department. It is a small park with wonderful greenery. It has a basketball court and playground, as well as tables for eating that are roofed with a tent that provides light. 

7901 NW South River Dr, Medley, FL 33166

Transportation

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0 

Truthfully, the best way to get around Medley is by car. Although some distances are quite far for the average person, walking can be a great alternative during peak traffic hours. Being part of Miami-Dade county, Medley also has public transportation. This is another alternative that people can use to not only get around Medley, but get to other parts in Miami. Public transportation is always eco-friendly and wallet-friendly. This could also be another way to get to know the area or see alternate routes for the daily commute. 

Moving around Medley is not difficult, but if you travel through during peak hours then it is recommended that you do so with a lot of time to spare. There are many accidents and road works that happen on a daily basis, so be an alert driver!

Food

Mara’s Fish House 

Located right off West Okeechobee Road, this very well reviewed restaurant brings a little of the sea to land. Offering a Latin take on seafood, this little joint serves the community with delicious food Monday through Friday. 

7400 NW South River Dr #B6, Medley, FL, 33166

(305) 863-1009

La Cosecha Argentinian Steakhouse

Located right off the Hialeah Expressway, offers some of the best steak in town. This Argentinian steakhouse offers its clients a range of foods from sandwiches to pasta. La Cosecha brings a little bit of Argentina to the community Monday through Saturday.

6981 NW 74th St, Miami, FL 33166

(305) 885-8850

Napolitano Restaurant & Pizzeria

Located right between the Palmetto Expressway and West Okeechobee, this restaurant has some of the best pizza there is around. They offer mouthwatering appetizers, from mozzarella sticks to garlic knots. This restaurant serves the community Monday through Saturday.

8481 NW South River Dr, Medley, FL, 33166

786) 332-6222

Businesses 

Tax Medic 

A local business providing the community with year-round support with taxes.

https://taxmedic911.com

7911 NW 72nd Ave #219b, Medley, FL, 33166

Phone: (305) 699-4077

Custom Manufacturing Corporation 

A diverse manufacturing company catering to personal care, cosmetics, and other products.

Home

9324 NW 102nd St, Medley, FL, 33178

Phone: (305) 863-1001

Coronado Express

Pictures provided by Coronado Express.

A family owned courier service, shipping goods to many Latin American countries.

https://coronadoexpress.com

10049 NW 89th Ave Bay 14, Medley, FL, 33178

Phone: (786) 391-4404

Summary

All photographs taken and edited by Verónica Guzmán Betancourt/CC BY 4.0 

Medley, Florida is a beautiful town filled with culture and people from all over the world. The time that I spent researching and traveling through was a learning experience. Even though it is a small town, you might want to dedicate a couple days to see everything. Of course, please take time out of your day to sit down and eat at many of the local restaurants. The food is absolutely delicious and the people will welcome you with open arms. 

Given that it is a working town, people drive there and through there a lot. This means that the traffic gets backed up, sometimes even on the weekends. Medley is located right by multiple highways, so there will always be vehicles getting on and off of them. Even so, on the bright side Medley has provided thousands of people with jobs that not only help them but also the economy. Many of the products we use on a daily basis can potentially come from there. There are many local florists that can sell flowers and other plants for any decor need one might have.

No matter what, every part of Miami is full of history and culture. South Florida is a melting pot of diversity, we all are part of this massive community, regardless if you reside or simply visit. From Medley, you can easily take the leap and explore other mesmerizing parts of Miami. 

Works Cited

About Us, http://www.townofmedley.com/about-us.

“Census Profile: Medley, FL.” Census Reporter, censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US1243900-medley-fl/.

Media, Spacenet. “Home: MedleyPD: Medley, FL 33166.” Medley PD, http://www.medleypd.com/.

“Medley, Florida.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Feb. 2022, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medley,_Florida.

Services, Miami-Dade County Online. “Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park.” Untitled Document, http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/martin-luther.asp.

“History.” Historic Hampton House, historichamptonhouse.org/history/.

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