Without Parrish, Ogletree said, she could never have returned.
“My grandmother paid $9,000 for her house and the lot was 50-by-100 and a single-family dwelling,” she said. “Now they want $300,000 or $400,000.”
Ogletree not only tended to her own home, but helped rebuild the neighborhood.
When trucks rumbled onto the street to illegally dump garbage, she called police. When drug buyers came driving by, she tapped on their windows and told them to leave. She planted flowers in her yard and her husband cut her neighbor’s grass.
Parrish eventually bought the crack house next door, fixed it up and sold it to Ogletree’s cousin. He built 14 affordable homes, but didn’t get the backing from the city to keep it going.
“It was the biggest disappointment of my life,” he said. “We did this all with no public money, no risk to the public at all and we never got one bit of support.”
He went on to work with UM architect Richard Shepard, who created the Grand Avenue Vision Plan in 2002. It lays out a cohesive development, but was eventually swallowed up by Miami 21, the city’s new zoning code to unify development citywide, Parrish said.
Even with zoning protection, it may be too late for the kind of main street the neighborhood imagines.
“To me, the redevelopment of the Grove is inevitable and I’m not talking about the way the people who live there would want it. It’s going to be the way that makes money. That means upscale and large and encroaching into the black Grove,” Dunn said.
“It’s unfortunate and sad. But I don’t see an alternative to that happening.”