Miami Gardens is planning to establish a community redevelopment agency and held a community workshop Monday where residents described what they want to see in the city and what issues they hope the plan will address.
The city wants to establish a CRA to bring in more tax money and to aid in redevelopment on major thoroughfares.
Estimates from Keith and Schnars, a Fort Lauderdale consulting firm, indicate that the CRA could provide about $16 million annually by the 30th year of the CRA. The total revenue could add up to $263 million by the end of the plan, around the year 2044.
The City Council voted to approve a CRA boundary that would include the Northwest 27th Avenue and Northwest Second Avenue corridors with State Road 826 linking the two areas. The area also extends northwest of Sun Life Stadium approaching County Line Road and south near the Golden Glades Interchange.
The entire proposed area spans about 1,700 acres, with most of that land being commercial, residential and vacant land.
At a December meeting, City Manager Cameron Benson said that focusing on 27th Avenue would be prudent moving forward given the developments planned there and at the City Hall complex now under construction, but Mayor Oliver Gilbert suggested moving forward with development on Second Avenue.
“If we think we’re going to want to do a CRA on the east side of the city, it’s probably best to do it now,” said Gilbert at the meeting.
When a CRA is created, a limited part of the city is designated for special tax help. Any new tax revenue from growth in property values in the CRA area stays in the area rather than being shared with the entire city. The city can spend the money as it comes in or borrow against the expectation of future growth.
Benson said the plan is to encourage investment in the city through offering small business and facade improvement loans to business owners for streetscape improvements and parking garages.
“We want to make sure infrastructure is up to par and can encourage development,” Benson said.
Debbie Love, a senior planner with Keith and Schnars, said at Monday’s workshop that Miami Gardens has a lot of opportunity because there are numerous vacant and underused properties that could be redeveloped, like the Carol Mart flea market at Northwest 183rd Street and 27th Avenue.
“You all know your city best and you all know what you need,” Love said at the workshop.
Residents at the workshop were split into groups and asked to present what they liked about the city, what they want to see redeveloped and what could prevent the city from reaching those ideas.
Many of them said they were happy to see the new Aldi grocery store and the coming City Hall complex and lamented the lack of hotels, movie theaters, art and museums in the city. The groups were nearly unanimous in stating that funding, public perception and leadership could be hurdles moving forward.
Melissa Williams, who has lived in the city for over 50 years, expressed her frustration about the proposed CRA’s lack of focus on the southernmost part of the city in the Bunche Park neighborhood.
“We meet the criteria and that’s where the need is,” Williams said. “What we don’t want them to do is to only build the areas that came after us.”
During the firm’s presentation they also noted that some potential issues include a large amount of code violations and crime in the CRA area.
Jim Kahn, assistant director of planning for the firm, said 41 percent of Part 1 crime—defined by the FBI as including aggravated assault, rape, murder, robbery, arson, burglary, larceny theft and motor vehicle theft—takes place in the CRA area with much of it concentrated in the area immediately north of SR 826.
Moving forward, the firm will consider the residents’ suggestions and include them, along with the results from the finding of necessity, in a formal report to the city at the first City Council meeting in April.