Liberty City

County tears down Greene Dreams Shoe Repair

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.


Obama Campaign strengthens community outreach in Miami-Dade County


As the election cycle moves closer to the November 6, 2012 Election Day, Organizing for America (OFA) is opening more offices on the north end of Miami-Dade County. More volunteers are needed to continue to strengthen the campaign’s ground game and get President Barack Obama re-elected.


A new field office has opened in North Miami Beach at 17152 West Dixie Highway and there’s a staging location at 5603 NW 31 Avenue in the Brownsville area. Make time on your schedule to do what you can to help the campaign.

Continue reading "Obama Campaign strengthens community outreach in Miami-Dade County" »

Change can be good but the Liberty City Transit Village Project needs to be revamped

The Liberty City Transit Village Project is the topic of an op-ed piece by local architect Harlan Woodard posted in The Miami Herald of September 26, 2012. The Liberty City Transit Village is a local project that will change one of the most iconic and highly traveled intersections in the black community, northwest 7th avenue and 62nd street, yet it has received little attention from the media and local community-oriented organizations.

Continue reading "Change can be good but the Liberty City Transit Village Project needs to be revamped" »


Chef Richard Ingraham, who was born in Liberty City, is returning to his birthplace on April 14, 2012 to lead a Celebrity Food Demo for youth, parents, and community residents at the Liberty City Farmers’ Market, which takes places at the TACOLCY Park on NW 62nd Street & NW 8th Avenue each Thursday and Saturday.  The market is managed by Urban GreenWorks and supported by Youth L.E.A.D.’s youth apprentices and community outreach efforts.

Ingram is a personal celebrity chef for Dwayne Wade and his girlfriend, Gabrielle Union. He has generously agreed to share his cooking expertise on April 14th to show youth and residents how to prepare locally-grown, seasonal produce from the farmer’s market in a healthy manner. Ingram will also speak on the important of nutrition for health and physical performance in sports.

The Celebrity Food Demo Event will be held from 1-3 pm on Saturday April 14th at TACOLCY Park. In addition to Ingraham’s food demo, the farmers’ market will host live music by Buffalo Brown, youth poets, and a Youth L.E.A.D. smoothie stand featuring organic, seasonal fruits.

The event is being organized and funded by Youth L.E.A.D., an emerging food justice nonprofit that educates, empowers and employs youth from Liberty City and Opa Locka as Food Justice Activists at partnering farmers’ markets and community gardens. 

Breakfast on a budget @ Blessed

I'm outsourcing my meal preparation by getting breakfast from Blessed Catering Soul Food Restaurant. They serve breakfast all day for $5. I was in the drive thru line at Mickey D's but I wanted some grits and to support a friend's business. Stop by 5711 NW 7th Avenue, Miami today. Tell Denise that Vanessa sent you.

Breakfast on a budget @ Blessed

Breakfast on a budget @ Blessed

Edmonson says Transit Village contract offers jobs guarantees

Written by JESSICA DE LEON   

transit_village_small_web.jpg(FIU) - The Miami-Dade County commissioner whose district includes Liberty City says the county's contract with the presumed developer of the Seventh Avenue Transit Village will address demands for concessions being made by some residents and community groups. Read entire story at South Florida Times....

Heart of Liberty City Forum: Progress or More of the Same?

Hearty_of_liberty_city_forumHeart of Liberty City Forum - Thursday, 02/03/2011 - Church of the Open Door 

I attended the Heart of Liberty City forum Thursday night at the Church of the Open Door. It was scheduled to start at 6 pm. When I arrived the parking lot was already almost filled to capacity and cars were still pulling into the lot. That was a good sign because too many important community meetings are not well attended.

After signing in and finding somewhere to sit, I scanned the room and saw a few familiar faces. Many of the attendees were taking advantage of the refreshments and others were in engaged in conversation. The atmosphere was warm and inviting and the sound of the African drumming added to the communal ambience.

TACOLCY CEO Alison Austin welcomed everyone and Rev. Dr. Joaquin Willis, pastor of the Church of the Open Door, delivered an inspirational prayer. There was a brief PowerPoint presentation on Liberty City, its current plight and visions for the future by the Miami Workers Center’s Lead Organizer Hashim Yeomans-Benford. After the presentation, Stephanie Sylvestre facilitated the small group discussion segment.

Each table of individuals was asked if they supported a community alliance to establish a strong, unified voice in determining the future of Liberty City. Everyone in attendance seemed to rally around the alliance recommendation but the rest of the meeting seemed to rapidly deteriorate in an attempt to garner consensus around other issues.

As a representative for each table group spoke, a disconnect between the organizers and many in attendance became apparent. After talking with my tablemates and others in attendance, there was a desire for more information on the MLK Transit Village Project and the designation of The Carlisle Development Group as the developer. Some came to hear from the developer, others had negative history with The Carlisle Group and there is overwhelming distrust of county government to do the right thing for the residents in Liberty City. Passionate comments by Tyrone Greene of Greene Dreams Shoe Repair pretty much sealed the deal on expressing community discontent.

When the evening was coming to a close, there was an odd and awkward exchange between Austin and Rep. Darryl Reaves who asked a question about The Carlisle Group. Austin’s retort and insistence multiple times that the meeting was not about Carlisle led to grumbling by folks in my immediate area about secrecy and the transit project being another empty promise to the black community. Moreover, urging local residents to call County Manager George Burgess and Matt Greer of The Carlisle Group and ask them to reach a resolution before February 8 just didn't seem right without knowing what that resolution will be.

Perhaps the forum agenda was not well thought out and too ambitious for the period of time allotted. Perhaps sharing substantive project background information could have quickly brought everyone up to speed and on the same page. I don’t think the audience push back was expected; if it was there was no strategy used to effectively mitigate it.

I got a better sense of the MLK Transit Village Project after the forum via internet research and talking with individuals with knowledge of it since its inception. There is also confusion about the next steps since the County website shows the Regional Transportation Committee meeting scheduled for Monday, February 7, 9:30 - Noon not Tuesday February 8. The MLK Transit Village Project is not specifically identified as a topic to be discussed but I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for the meeting confusion. Besides, it’s important to just be ready at all times.

When all is said and done, prayerfully, the community alliance will be formed and there will be more outreach in crafting the vision for and fighting for fair treatment of blacks in the redevelopment of the 7th Avenue Corridor in Liberty City. Residents and small business owners are angry. They do not trust county government and are tired of broken promises. Nevertheless, the people must make demands and follow through on making sure those demands are met. If there will be progress we must move from emotion to action.

I overstand that organizers of the forum understand the adage that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu and are trying to get in front of and trying to drive needed community engagement in the Transit Village Project because its construction is needed and seems inevitable. The devil will be in the details of the actual construction of the MLK Transit Village Project and further development of the 7th Avenue Corridor.

One thing the community must not do is become paralyzed because of the misdeeds of others in the past. The happy medium is to do right by the small businesses in the community and the residents. It’s time to recoup, regroup and move forward.


Related Links:

A Policy Paper on Community Development in Liberty-Model City

Millions for deals, not for merchants

Executive Summary and Transmittal of the OIG1s Final Audit Report on the Agreement Between Miami-Dade Transit and the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust to Jointly Develop the 7th Avenue Transit Village Project, Ref. IG07-09 

Transit Village takes root in Liberty City 

Our Fight for a Fair Transit Village


© 2011, Blogging Black Miami, 

CAC-Florida Medical Centers opens in Liberty City

CAC-Florida Medical Centers will host a ribbon cutting and free community event for the grand opening of a new comprehensive full-service medical center in Liberty City.  CAC's investment of approximately $2.5 million in the new Liberty City medical center will provide area residents with a wide range of social, health and lifestyle services and programs with an ultimate goal of improving the quality of life and health of residents in the community.

Grand opening activities are scheduled for Saturday January 22, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with VIP ribbon cutting from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the  Liberty City CAC-Florida Medical Center, 6269 NW 7th Ave., Miami, FL 33150.


Liberty City business owner continues fight for future after development of MLK Transit Village

Greene Check out this article from the Miami New Times about Greene Dreams thwarting County development plans. The store is well-known in Liberty City and does the best shoe repair around but let’s not digress. The Greenes are concerned about where their business will be relocated when the development of the Martin Luther King Transit Village begins. He also accuses the County of harassment. Interesting.

Development is needed in the area but it’s also important to support and develop the small businesses along the Seventh Avenue Corridor. The community really needs business creation and development rather than being limited to the role of consumer. Keep an eye on this situation.


Related Links:

Greene Dreams Owner Says County Is Harassing Him For Blocking Development

Transit village plans worry business owners

Millions for deals, not for merchants

Where Do We Go From Here? A Policy Paper on Community Development in Liberty-Model City


Miami Children's Initiative Designated [PHOTO]

On September 21, The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida designated the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami as a Florida Children's Initiative. The designation was presented to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.
As she accepted the award, Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson applauded the volunteers and community leaders who worked together to complete the Strategic Community Plan required to earn the designation. Edmonson also thanked the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida for their leadership and guidance throughout the planning process.

In 2008, the Florida Legislature approved a process for the establishment of a comprehensive community-based children's initiative to provide quality education, healthcare and youth development programs for children and families living in neighborhoods and communities where opportunity and infrastructure is limited or nonexistent.

Commissioner Edmonson said, "The Miami Children's Initiative will be the catalyst for change from what may have been deemed devastating, bleak and disheartening to a flourishing and thriving community in Liberty City. Block by block, in districts 2 and 3, the Miami Children's Initiative will touch the lives of families and give hope to children to exceed expectations in all their endeavors."

The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida would like to acknowledge Alison Austin and Leigh Toney for their vision. Also, a special thanks to Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Senator Larcenia Bullard, (former) Representative Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Secretary George Sheldon, Irene Taylor Wooten, Betty Key and the members of the community who served on the strategic planning team for their faithful commitment and continued support of the Miami Children's Initiative.

Inaugural Board of Directors
Miami Children's Initiative has seated their inaugural board. They include:
Ms. Elaine L. Adderly
Mrs. Elaine H. Black
Ms. Thema Campbell
Mr. Morris Copeland
Dr. Luvernice H. Croskey
Dr. Cathia Darling
Mr. Cedric McMinn
Ms. Annie R. Neasman
Rev. Nathaniel J. Wilcox

**The Executive Director position has been advertised and over 400 applications have been received. The Board hopes to finalize its selection by mid November.

Promise Neighborhoods Update
Promise Neighborhoods, established under the legislative authority of the Fund for the Improvement of Education Program, provide grant funding to eligible entities so they can significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children in our most distressed communities.

The Promise Neighborhoods grant award supports the development of an implementation plan that includes:
· A leader and an organization that can engage the community and be accountable for results
· A "place-based" approach which leverages investments by focusing resources in targeted places, drawing on the compounding effect of well-coordinated actions
· Close integration of schools, academic programs, and family and community supports to close gaps that contribute to children missing academic and developmental milestones
· The capacity to collect, analyze, and use data to evaluate success

At the conclusion of the planning grant period, grantees should have a feasible plan to implement a continuum of solutions that will significantly improve results for children in the community being served.

This summer, 339 applications were submitted for the first round of
Promise Neighborhoods grant funding. Nationwide, only 21 communities were awarded grants. None of the 14 applications from Florida communities were selected; however, the following 9 Florida applications scored 80 or above out of a possible 100:
· Sulphur Springs Neighborhood of Promise, Tampa
· Gainesville Promise
· New Town Success Zone, Jacksonville
· Orlando Promise Neighborhoods
· Ounce of Prevention Fund in collaboration with East
Jacksonville, Miami Gardens, Pinellas County and West
Palm Beach
· Broward L.I.F.E. Project
· Florida City Promise Neighborhood
· Edison Edu-Plex Promise Neighborhood, Miami
· Miami Beach Promise Neighborhood

The Ounce of Prevention Fund applauds these communities on their performance and encourages you to continue the great work you have begun in your community.

Miami Children's Initiative Designated [PHOTO]