UEL Resolution calls on the CRA to defer the item related to World Center

Press Release 
From the Urban Environment League of Greater Miami 
 
For Immediate Release
 
December 29, 2014
Contacts:
Grace Solares, President :305-798-9568
Greg Bush, Vice President: 305-926-5001

Peter Ehrlich, Secretary: 305-798-1200

The UEL calls on the CRA to defer the item related to World Center in order for a more transparent process to proceed when considering the public interest.  

Resolution of the Board of Directors of the Urban Environment League

Re: Miami World Center – SEOPW CRA Agenda December 29, 2014 – ITEM NO. 11, RE-14-01286

    WHEREAS, the Urban Environment League (UEL), while supporting smart growth, has long been an advocate against corporate welfare and projects that can adversely affect the quality of life in Miami’s communities; and

WHEREAS, the UEL has long believed that transparency and community involvement to mitigate the impact of major projects are key to building long-term, sustainable communities; and

WHEREAS, the UEL wishes to raise some important questions and concerns about the proposed TIF rebate agreement being voted on December 29, 2014 to benefit the Miami Worldcenter, most importantly, the utter lack of community involvement and the deviation from the stated goals of the Southeast Overtown Park West CRA (SEOPW CRA); and

WHEREAS, in 1982, the City of Miami created the Southeast Overtown Park West CRA.  The stated reason at that time for including Park West was that once Park West was redeveloped (proximity to the waterfront meant that Park West would organically develop before Overtown), was to use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money from the Park West area to subsequently develop Overtown.  This long suffering community has waited 32 years for this to happen, and now when it finally is occurring, the CRA intends to issue TIF rebates to the developer, effectively breaking a decades long promise to the community; and

WHEREAS, the UEL believes there has been inadequate vetting and public oversight of this proposal, witness the date of this meeting, between Christmas and New Year, and the fact that supporting documents were not released to the public until Christmas eve; and

WHEREAS, the Overtown Advisory Board, the legally appointed entity representing the community, passed a resolution on December 18 requiring the CRA to allow review and comment by the Board, as required in the Redevelopment Plan; and

WHEREAS, there are serious questions and uncertainties about the legality under the Florida redevelopment act of effectively giving tax rebates in exchange for minority hiring of firms that are located outside the redevelopment area, which questions and uncertainties must be resolved by way of a Legal Opinion from the Attorney General of the State, prior to any allocation of funds or entering into any kind of Agreement with MiamiWorldCenter, its subsidiaries, partners, assigns, heirs; and

WHEREAS, the proposed agreement offers substantially the same (and potentially less) community benefits to that already negotiated in the Development Agreement with the City of Miami.  This at a cost of nearly $280 million in public assistance to the Developer;  and

WHEREAS, the UEL feels that ALL applicable fees and taxes should be paid by the private developer and that those funds should be used to reduce slum and blight and improve the quality of life of the long-suffering residents of Overtown;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Urban Environment League request that the Commissioner Members of the CRA Board defer the World Center item presently scheduled for December 29, 2014, and more specifically identified in the agenda as Number 11, Legislation No. 14-01286, so that the citizens and the media receive full access to all the documents drafted in relation to the contemplated Agreement so a transparent and public vetting can take place. Too often we have seen the City of Miami rush into “deals” with the private sector, with disastrous results.

 

Grace Solares, President

Gregory Bush, Vice President

Peter Ehrlich, Secretary

Alberto Ruder, Treasurer

 

 

 

 

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