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Monday, May 15, 2017

Does Village West need a CRA?

When I heard about the City of Miami extending the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency from the Miami/Omni area into Village West, I questioned it. The first thing I said to myself was that this is a money grab and that the Village West will lose its identity. But I thought, "What do I know?" and I kept my mouth shut. But now I see that one of the community leaders of Village West, my friend JS Rashid, head of the Coconut Grove Collaborative, feels the same as I do.

Recently he wrote about Village West being tossed around from the Bahamian birth of Coconut Grove to being a part of the whole Coconut Grove when it suits certain people and then again, segregated when it doesn't suit them.

Recently I wrote that I didn't want to use the term "Village West" if possible so as not to divide the community, and to make it one. But what Mr. Rashid has to say is quite interesting. 

District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell feels that expanding the CRA to Village West, will help the area gain affordable housing and ward off developers who are circling around like vultures. 

Rashid says the city created a Neighborhood Development Zone (NDZ) for Village West in 1968 but the city never came through with this proposal.

About the current situation, he says:

"With a prospective Community Re-development Agency (CRA) being designated for this neighborhood; designs are being made to divide us up into three different sections and remove our self-proclaimed identity and lump us in with wealthier others, so that they can take part in the unpaid dividends owed primarily to those here that have long suffered the dis-investment, disenfranchisement and suppression. Must we lose our collective cultural-ethnic identity and prerogatives in exchange for a little prosperity? It is only a black community when it is poor but when the money comes we are all one. No! We will continue be a progressive upward mobile welcoming community with diversity but retaining our African American/Bahamian identity and veneer along with our new prosperity."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said!

May 15, 2017 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, Arthur Teele shot himself on the floor of the Miami Herald because of corruption with a CRA. We don't need anymore undemocratic carve outs of tax dollars for our "city leader's" to make neighborhoods better.

May 15, 2017 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait too long and there will no locals or canopy left to protect.

May 15, 2017 1:58 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Over a decade ago the Center for Urban and Community Design’s (CUCD) major early achievement in the neighborhood was the development of a Grand Avenue Vision Plan.
The desire for such a plan originally grew out of the “next steps” suggested in the City of Miami’s Coconut Grove Planning Study of 1996. Following these recommendations, the Grand Avenue Vision Plan was intended to present a vision for a revitalized street of mixed “residential, office and commercial” uses. Toward this end, it incorporated many recommendations for zoning changes, streetscape improvements, and measures that would increase security and livability.
In this effort, special attention was taken to recognize the character and scale of existing buildings, and suggest ways to improve or replace them that might allow the street to regain its quality as a focus of neighborhood activity.

Guideline exist also ** but no one pays any attention to them. It's time the community got behind this project


May 15, 2017 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, some CRA's have spotty records, but it comes down to the will of decision makers and making sure today's community is steering.
The problem with saying "No" right out of the gate is that we won't have the resources to protect, preserve and grow the historic character of the neighborhood. We all know change is coming, as surely as the seas will rise along our shoreline. A CRA should be studied to see if it is a good tool to help. Let the community get in the mix, get educated and then decide. What's the alternative? Wait until our choices have all been made by developers who aren't waiting for us?

May 15, 2017 6:09 PM  

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