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Thursday, January 11, 2018

CRA for Village West to be discussed at meeting

The City of Miami is meeting today, January 11, and on the agenda is item RE.3, which will discuss bringing the Miami CRA to Village West in Coconut Grove.

The Village West in Coconut Grove is where Coconut Grove started. Its rich Bahamian culture is still present as you walk down the streets. Nestled between wealthy Coconut Grove and Coral Gables, this historically black community helped found and build our city, nevertheless it was originally and literally segregated from the rest of the city. Today we are at risk of wiping this area and its history off the map. Slumlords have taken over the area. Broken promises have left empty lots all over the area.


Commissioner Ken Russell believe that bringing this neighborhood under the wing of the existing Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) in the City Commission District where Ken serves may be its last chance of surviving slum and blight without encouraging displacement and gentrification. Ken believes the CRA may be the key to a resilient future of clean streets, thriving businesses, affordable homes, and historic preservation—a future that cherishes the Bahamian, Caribbean, and Southern roots that have earned their place here.


As City Commissioner, Ken Russell, has directed several motions and legislative changes towards this purpose, but it hasn’t been enough. This is why, once again looking for the welfare and healthy development of this place and its people, he brings a new solution: preserving the West Grove with a CRA. As Chairman of the existing Omni CRA, he knows the power of this tool when regulated and implemented properly. Basically, it traps the future tax revenue generated within the boundary to be laser focused on the elimination of slum and blight. The CRA can act quickly and efficiently under the administration of an Executive Director and the oversight of a Board of Directors and a Community Advisory Board.


The Village West Homeowners and Tenants Associaton (HOATA), which will be affected by the CRA proposal, has a resolution in favor of the proposal, which says that, "HOATA, with the condition that a specific commitment in a Preamble appended to the “Finding of Necessity” for the proposed CRA expansion be made to convey the benefits of the CRA; specifying that the “long-termed African-American/Bahamian, residents of the area, as beneficiaries."
It goes on, "With that provision, HOATA is in full support of the non-contiguous boundary expansion of the Omni CRA to include the Coconut Grove Village-West neighborhood, as well as the establishment of a Coconut Grove Village-West CRA District Advisory Board, and
asks that the Miami City Commission accept and approve the Finding of Necessity
Report (including the recommended preamble) for the expansion of the boundaries of
the CRA to overlay the City of Miami Neighborhood Development Zone (TUA) and asks
that the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners, the City of Miami
Commission and the Omni CRA Board of Commissioners take all necessary action to
finalize the boundary expansion, modify the Interlocal Agreement, and amend the Omni
CRA Amended Redevelopment Plan.

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