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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Getting the ball rolling on the Village West CRA

Frank Schnidman, J.D.; LL.M., Former Distinguished Professor of Urban and Regional Planning has been working with Commissioner Ken Russell on extending the boundary of the Omni CRA to include the West Grove. CRA stands for Community Redevelopment Agency. It is is intended to help revitalize downtown areas, preserve historic structures, and otherwise enhance the designated district. It's sort of an oxymoron to think that Miami CRA's preserve historic structures, but that is the definition of the CRA.

"I appeared before the Ministerial Alliance again this past Saturday to discuss the Finding of Necessity issue, and to address participants questions," said Frank.

“Slum” and “Blight” have been words used to describe Village West, but those are the words defined in the Redevelopment Act. This is just the first step to designating the area CRA worthy.

Currently, there is no actual plan for the preservation and enhancement of the are, for the redevelopment/development. The Amended Omni CRA Redevelopment Plan would actually be that plan.

There are no additional funds earmarked for the preservation and enhancement of the Village West, or the redevelopment/development of the area. The Omni CRA Tax Increment Trust Fund, created for the purpose of alleviating slum and blight and providing affordable housing in the Omni Redevelopment Area, would become the only dedicated funding source to implement the plan.

The taxpayers of Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami, pursuant to the authorization of the State Legislature and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners, have committed to annually contribute funding to the Tax Increment Trust Fund from the County and City General Fund. 

Just as the Omni CRA boundary was expanded to take in Museum Park and portions of Watson Island, and the Trust Fund resources were made available to fund projects within those expansion areas, the Trust Fund resources will be made available to fund projects within the West Grove Expansion Area. The projects would be within the boundary of the CRA and within the goals, objectives, projects and programs of the Amended Omni CRA Redevelopment Plan.

There could be concerns about the proposed boundary of the expansion area. Also, many of the locals are not very happy about a CRA controlling their neighborhood, but with words like "slum" and "blight" being bandied about, maybe a CRA is the answer to finally "fixing" the neighborhood.

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