Despite the recent spate of local and national attention the city has received and the multiple TV cameras that lined the rear of the Miami Gardens council chambers, Wednesday night’s City Council meeting was mainly about routine city business.
The mayor and the council did not directly mention the resignation of former police chief Matthew Boyd earlier in the day until Vice Mayor Lisa Davis gave her report near the end of the meeting.
“He worked hard, I know that, I don’t care what anybody says, he worked hard and I’m thankful for him,” said Davis.
County Commissioner Barbara Jordan echoed the sentiments of MGPD about community involvement being needed to reduce crime. However, she added that the alleged harassment and civil right violations by members of the force at the 207 Quickstop made her “furious,” and said the picture painted by the situation was “truly revolting.”
“My concerns go beyond what’s going on at this one store. Complaints received by my office about racial profiling continue to grow,” Jordan said. “Such beliefs, whether real or imagined, create distrust and a poor perception of the city.”
Jordan, whose district includes Miami Gardens, said the county’s Community Relations Board sent a letter to Mayor Oliver Gilbert encouraging the city and its leadership to work with the board moving forward.
Among the more routine items on Wednesday’s agenda, the city received a grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida as a part of the Healthy Community Partnership Initiative. Miami Gardens and Little Havana were chosen and will split $7.5 million over the next six years for health programs in the city. Miami Gardens will receive about $625,000 each year.
The council also voted on multiple resolutions including renewing its contract with ShotSpotter for gunshot detection, planning for the establishment of a city housing authority, and allowing the mayor and city manager to plan for annexing areas east and west of the city’s boundaries.
On the east side, the city is considering expanding into the industrial areas on Northwest Second Avenue toward Interstate-95. On the west side, the plan is extend from Northwest 42nd Avenue to Northwest 57th Avenue with the north and south boundaries being Northwest 199th Street and County Line Road.
The mayor, who sponsored the two resolutions, said the plan is to take advantage of areas like the Landmark Center at 20000 NW 47th Avenue and other vacant land to continue expansion and building in the city.
“We need developable land, we want to be in control of big parcels of vacant land on the edge of our city,” said Gilbert.
Councilwoman Lillie Odom was the only no vote on both resolutions and expressed concern about the expansion to the west and the annexation adding the Honey Hill trailer park, at 4955 NW 199th St., to the city’s boundaries.
The council also decided on the boundaries of its proposed Community Redevelopment Agency, voting to make the potential CRA boundary include Northwest 27th Avenue and Northwest Second Avenue corridors and allowing State Road 826 to link the two areas.
Gilbert closed the meeting, the last of 2013, by pointing out that the city plans to continue moving forward as the new year approaches.
“No matter how many cameras are in this audience, no matter how many papers write stories, we’re going to continue to do the business of the people of Miami Gardens,” said Gilbert.