In a move that likely surprised no one, early in the morning on Friday, January 4, 2013, City of Miami police broke into Greene Dreams Shoe Repair Shop. Miami-Dade County (and developers) had enough. Business owner Tyrone Greene would no longer delay construction of the Liberty City Transit Village project. The project will provide retail shops, apartments and a bus depot on the south corners of 62nd Street and Seventh Avenue.
For more than five years, Greene has fought to keep his business on 62nd street, just east of northwest Seventh Avenue. It is a family business for 50 years and a landmark in the community. The shop has probably become better known for their t-shirts and other items than shoe repair which is unfortunate because they do excellent shoe repair work.
The shop was deemed an unsafe structure. Utilities were disconnected but a defiant Greene remained. He had already fought the government in court and won. He maintains he has a legally-binding lease until 2014. He brought in his own makeshift utilities and continued to operate until last Friday morning. County officials had the contents of the shop packed up and transported to a warehouse for storage.
Greene's attachment to the building is understandable. Both of his parents are deceased. His father started the business. It's his family's legacy and he probably feels he's let his parents down. It's very sad.
County officials said they offered Greene a temporary location and rent in the new retail shop space at the current lease rate. Greene and his family feel wronged; the County feels it was patient had no other option but to evict the shop.
The Miami Worker Center, also former tenants of the building, joined the owners of Greene Dreams Shoe Repair and concerned community members in a candlelight vigil last night mourning the loss of the business.
Tyrone Greene is not going away quietly. The building that housed his family's business has been demolished but his fight continues. Stay tuned.