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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

$1 million headed to Village West for improvements

Commissioner Ken Russell announced that more than $1 million in funding will be going into the Village West to improve housing, jobs, health and education for local residents. He will announce this formally, Wednesday, April 11 at 10:30 am at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 3515 Douglas Road.

The funding, directed by Ken from various local and federal programs, aims to begin to make up for decades of official neglect of the neighborhood.

"I represent the wealthiest, fast-growing district in this city, but growth doesn't mean much if we don't invest in all of our communities," said Commissioner Russell. "The West Grove was Miami's first community and we cannot let it be paved over by progress and forgotten. We must give the families who have lived there for generations a fighting chance to prosper and own their own neighborhood."

The funding includes money to fix up the homes of low-income families, elderly and veterans, expand education and job training programs, provide small business grants, youth programs, a new playground and much more. It represents a first wave of community-focused investment and economic development in the fast-gentrifying neighborhood. 

Ken plans to invest millions more dollars in the next few years by expanding the Omni CRA into the neighborhood, a concept that was unanimously endorsed by the City Commission earlier this year. The CRA would invest a portion of the taxes from growth in the neighborhood back into infrastructure an economic development in that area, concentrating the impact. 

"I have lived here most of my life. We are elated that this is happening because it's very needed in our community," said resident and local business owner Barbara Mills. "I applaud Commissioner Russell and his staff extensively for all their efforts and initiatives. He is finally doing something that others have not prevailed to do for decades."

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