Miami Beach Seeking State Funds To Plan For Lowincome Area
By Marilyn Bowden
The Economic Development Department of the City of Miami Beach is seeking a state grant to improve the quality of life for the city’s poorest citizens.
Kevin Crowder, economic development division director, said the city is preparing an application to the Florida Department of Community Affairs’ Urban Infill & Redevelopment Grant Program for $40,000 to plan improvements to the area between Fourth and Seventh streets and Alton Road and Collins Avenue.
Deadline for the application is Sept. 12.
The neighborhood includes the Fifth and Sixth street corridors north of Washington Avenue, the area with the lowest median income and highest unemployment in the city, he said.
"The grant would fund a community participation planning process," Mr. Crowder says, "to develop an infill and revitalization strategy using a holistic and collaborative community participation planning process."
The targeted area has residential and commercial properties, Mr. Crowder said, but he hopes the planning process will go beyond the designated borders of the plan to bring in stakeholders in nearby areas.
An initiative spearheaded by the offices of commissioners Luis Garcia and Jose Smith has put the project "a couple of steps ahead of where we would normally be in this grant application," Mr. Crowder said.
The commissioners surveyed 57 of 115 businesses in the area to identify areas of concern in advance of the application, said Noah Franklin, an aide to Mr. Garcia.
Proprietors were asked about community issues, their short-term goals, Mr. Franklin said, and whether they would be able to host meeting in their businesses.
"One of the things we noticed in putting together the results," he said, "was a concern with homelessness.
"Many are also concerned that there is not enough police presence."
Mr. Franklin said the median household income for the roughly 13,000 people living between 10th and Third streets is $10,000.
"The commissioners feel that corridor is a stepsister that has been ignored," he said.
"This survey," Mr. Crowder said, "gives us an additional piece we can take to community meetings if we get the funding." He said meetings would get under way four to six weeks after funding was in hand.
Mr. Crowder said state guidelines require that the planning process encompass transportation, housing, health care, social services, crime, economic development, education and infrastructure.
"One of the things this grant will do," he said, "is help us coordinate all the efforts already going on in the area and bring them all into the same picture."