Community News - Latest

Homestead

Miami Dade College may take over Homestead business incubator

 

ltzdinkova@gmail.com

More than a year ago, Homestead officials kicked out the operator of a small-business incubator that operated out of a city-owned building.

The move came after a county investigation found that the operator of the Carrie P. Meek Center, 301 Civic Court, had applied for – and received – nearly $1 million in federal grants despite having its nonprofit status revoked. As a condition to receive the grants, the center had to be designated as a nonprofit. The Carrie P. Meek Center’s operator also failed to carry the proper insurance, prompting the state to issue a stop work order.

Since then, the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency has been responsible for the Carrie P. Meek Center. The Homestead CRA is funded by the city and county and uses the money to revitalize historic downtown Homestead and the city’s Southwest district.

Now, Miami Dade College Homestead Campus wants to lease and operate the Carrie P. Meek Center. MDC has proposed to lease the building for 40 years at $1 per year.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the City Council, sitting as the CRA board, gave Homestead staff approval to continue negotiations with MDC for the operation and programming of the center.

But some CRA board members are concerned about the kinds of programs MDC plans to implement and about how much say the CRA board would have in the matter.

Board member Jimmie Williams III, who is the council liaison for the center, said that what MDC has proposed so far differs from the center’s current work.

For years, the center offered subsidized office space and helped new businesses set up shop in the community. It was mainly funded through federal and CRA grants.

While MDC has not revealed an official plan, Homestead Campus President Jeanne Jacobs told the CRA that the college plans to provide workshops, educational seminars, credit and noncredit programs “specifically geared toward the small-business community.”

“We propose those types of programs that would bring the small-business community into that center. There would be mentoring programs, one-stop resources. How do I develop a business plan? We believe we can assist in that kind of thing,” she added.

Williams’ response?

“This is certification classes she is talking about,” he told the Miami Herald after the CRA meeting. “What Dr. Jacobs is trying to do is bringing in a more academic kind of style. The business incubator helped businesses immigrate to the community. I did not hear that in their proposal. Their proposal is not to help the businesses actually take off the ground. The other issue is, what are they going to charge for those services?”

Williams and other board members also said they want to have a say on what MDC proposes in terms of programs at the Meek Center before a final contract is approved.

“I want to hear everything that was proposed and get to weigh in on it as well,” said Vice Chairman Stephen Shelley.

Jacobs told the board that she agrees it is important for Homestead, MDC and the local business community to work together when coming up with programs for the center.

Tuesday night’s CRA vote was not a final agreement between the city and MDC but merely gave the green light for Homestead staff and the college to further discuss the matter.

MDC was involved with the Meek center when it first opened in 2003. The college received grants to run programs at the center, but then the grants ran out and MDC discontinued its involvement.

The college also has a Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center in Liberty City. That center is an outreach of MDC’s North Campus, and it offers students credit and noncredit classes as well as workshops, seminars and vocational programs that focus on entrepreneurship and business, according to its website.

The Liberty City center as well as Homestead’s center are both named after retired U.S. Rep. Carrie P. Meek, a Miami Democrat who helped secure the money for both centers to open.

Follow @LidiaDinkova on Twitter.

Read more Community News - Latest stories from the Miami Herald

  • Sweetwater

    Sweetwater agrees to pay to avoid cancellation of insurance

    Sweetwater commissioners agreed Monday to pay up to $62,000 immediately to avoid cancellation of the city’s worker’s compensation insurance.

  •  
Artist Joseriberto Perez's postal worker parents inspired this work, which is a bundle of envelopes stained in coffee.

    Visual arts

    Artist’s work is influenced by Miami, Cuban heritage

    Joseriberto Perez, an emerging artist based in Miami, seems to avoid assigning his works meaning; he prefers the works to be ambiguous to the viewer and to lead to their own conclusions. But if you look closely, the artist has managed to create a body of work that examines his Cuban heritage and Miami upbringing in interesting ways.

  •  
Reinaldo Varela and Edenia Cruz Fernandez say they weren’t paid for work performed.

    Hialeah

    Campaign workers say employer stiffed them on paychecks

    A couple that worked for a week promoting electoral candidates outside a voting precinct in Hialeah complained on Monday that the well-known political strategist Sasha Tirador had fired them and refused to pay them for the days worked.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK