of coastline and some of the most idyllic weather in the contiguous United States. When the area was first settled roughly 400 years ago, fighting between settlers from England and France and their Spanish counterparts to the south was rampant. After the United States gained control of the territory, the economy continued to rely on the goods salvaged from shipwrecks in the coral reefs. Fighting with the local Seminoles discouraged settlers from inhabiting the area, stifling development for several years. It was not until Henry Flagler established his railroad in 1896 that the region began to experience an economic expansion. Following the railroad's development, a series of drainage canals were dug to eliminate some of the swampland and make the area more habitable. The tropical weather and ample waterfront space quickly led to a boom in tourism and real estate in the 1920s, further fueling development.
When World War II broke out, the military utilized Miami-Dade County as a training ground for troops; after the war ended, many of these servicemen returned to the region to raise their families. The County has continued to grow since that time, with tourism remaining the bedrock for prosperity. While the weather is pristine most of the year, the County’s geographic position makes it particularly vulnerable to hurricanes, which have wreaked havoc on several occasions, notably Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
About the Author: Serving with Miami-Dade County government from 1986 to 2007, Benigna Marko played an integral role as a local government manager in dealing with issues of Unsafe Structures and Code Enforcement Violations. Benigna Marko contributed to numerous departments, including Planning and Zoning, and held responsibility for administering an annual budget of $23 million dollars. Aside from her work with the government, Benigna Marko has contributed to the community by supporting the United Way and volunteering to help her neighbors.