Opa-locka officials say they have a plan to fix battered and potholed Cairo Lane, but it might take a lot of money to do it.
City commissioners discussed Cairo Lane again last week as Commissioner Dorothy Johnson tried to add a resolution urging City Manager Kelvin Baker to move forward with the plan.
The commission initially asked Baker to produce a plan by April to address the business owners’ concerns. Baker said a plan has been completed and is in place, but Johnson said she still intends to put something on the agenda for the next meeting.
“I want it to come back for legislation,” Johnson said at the commission’s April 9 meeting. “I don’t want, ‘I told you, you know it’s in the minutes.’ I would like to have legislation.”
Representatives from Cairo Lane allowed former lobbyist Dante Starks to speak on their behalf in an unpaid capacity. He urged the commission to act, while also thanking Baker and his staff for meeting with business owners.
“They have been waiting over two decades,” Starks said at the meeting. “If we can’t do it tonight, we’d like to see it come back later.”
The road is on the western edge of the city, just south of Northwest 127th Street, and is lined almost entirely by auto parts and body shops.
Residents and businesses owners first voiced their concerns at a commission meeting in February. They complained that Cairo Lane and neighboring Alexandria Drive and Port Said Road were riddled with potholes and prone to flooding. They urged the commission to take action on fixing the potholes and putting in a proper drainage system.
The cost to fix the road and others outlined in a roadway improvement plan is $22 million to $25 million, according to city estimates. Commissioner Timothy Holmes repeated his stance from that meeting asking for the owners to give the city time to find the money.
“Don’t think we don’t know what needs to be done on this road,” Holmes said. “We are going to do it in pieces. Just be patient.”
Business people like Angel Vargas, who works at the JDM Kings auto parts shop, said in an interview that the piece-by-piece approach might not be effective.
“Every year it gets worse because it doesn’t get fixed. Their temporary fixes make it worse,” Vargas said.