The proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Thus the mission of the Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency: Create a variety of economic opportunities that will eliminate slum and blight and ultimately create a revitalized self-sustaining community.
Creating affordable housing is one component — an important one, but only one part of the Omni CRA’s action plan to achieve its goal by 2030.
However, Frank Schnidman’s Jan. 14 letter, Miami’s community redevelopment agencies are failing, does a disservice to the efforts of the CRA, and others, making broad generalizations about its performance. Each CRA is unique, as is the approach each take to eliminating slum and blight.
Government cannot do it alone. Creating public-private-partnerships plays an important role. Such is the case with the development of the Florida Film and Television Center. This new movie studio will generate a variety of economic opportunities, including hundreds of direct and indirect jobs.
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In turn, revenues from the studio will be reinvested into the community for other initiatives to further the mission of the CRA, including affordable housing.
Creating a self-sustaining community can only happen when there is a viable economic engine. From there, other improvements occur, including affordable housing, workforce housing, additional job development entertainment and recreation amenities.
The Omni CRA’s funding of the Performing Arts Center is an obligation under an agreement between the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County.
Tax-increment financing funds are allocated to many redevelopment activities, including the Performing Arts Center, the PortMiami tunnel, Museum Park, safety initiatives and a long list of other infrastructure improvements, all with the goal of creating a viable, more coherent community.
The Omni CRA has focused on teaching a man to fish; it is sustainable, creating a new class of taxpayers. To suggest that these projects do not create economic opportunity and improve the overall quality of life in the Omni area is disingenuous.
Marc D. Sarnoff, Miami City Commission and chair, Omni CRA, Miami