OPA-LOCKA — The forecast of a “renewed Opa-locka” shined through in the Magnolia North area as an overcast sky covered the city during a news conference conducted by Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor
Residents were encouraged to “continue looking ahead” as the mayor vowed she would not allow violent crime to return to her city — referencing the tragedy just weeks earlier, a few feet from the location of the press conference, in which Xavier Bodie and Clifford Hill were killed. “We want to tell our story about the ‘Renaissance,’” said Mayor Taylor. “This is the ‘Rebirth’ of Magnolia North!”
Logan, a former Opa-locka mayor, said residents can look forward to apartment renovations, expansion of businesses, a park and an artwork display coming to 151st Street at the end of Ali Baba Avenue. He credited Commissioner Jordan for helping replace public housing with single-family residences by bringing the community based organization Habitat for Humanity.
“We’re committed to this neighborhood,” Logan said. “You stand with us, you work with us and you believe in this effort, I can assure you it will come true!”
Commissioner Jordan stated that the police department and the city have worked diligently for the past eight years to turn around the image. “This community is moving forward in spite of what everybody else thinks. We are committed.”
Jordan noted that the home ownership program comes with sweat equity. “When you’re helping to build your own home, you make sure everything is done right and you take pride in the outcome,” she remarked. “This journey is going to truly give Opa-locka back its name… its pride.”
Miami-Dade School Board member and CDC Chairman Wilbert “Tee” Holloway committed to the vision of the city by, he said “bringing additional educational opportunities to enlighten and help our children, so that they might do better.”
Bringing a biblical and faith perspective, the Rev. Dr. Richard P. Dunn II quoted Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” He added, “This is vision — seeing what others don’t see. Envision a beautiful, crime free, safe area, where there will be a tremendous quality of life, where people will able to rear their families. You have set the tone not only for Opa-locka, but for the city of Miami, as well as for our neighboring City of Miami Gardens.”
Community activist and Opa-locka’s “Senior King,” Arthaniel Muhammad, asked that the citizens in Magnolia North not doubt the mayor and commission, but back and support them by remaining patient. He also pleaded with the men in the community to “step up to the plate and take your job as a man…Family helps family.”
“For us,” pledged Mayor Taylor, “this is a new day of rebirth for a neighborhood long forgotten, therefore the partnership between the city of Opa-locka, the Opa-locka CDC and the county is strong alive and focused on the mission of rebuilding Magnolia North for our residents.”
She then requested a moment of silent prayer for Xavier Bodie, Clifford Hill and their families, as well as for those wounded by the July 21 tragedy which occurred in the area.
The mayor also reassured residents that with the help of Chief Cason, who has a personal interest in the city in which she was raised, the area will not return to the way it used to be. The mayor revealed that there are plans to add surveillance cameras. “Our people deserve better and we intend to give it to them by improving the quality of life through safety, strong security and high quality affordable housing.
“This will provide the vehicle for us to be investment ready and make our great city a community of choice and an inviting place to live and to work.”
“As evident in today’s turnout,” Taylor concluded, “a little rain will not douse our fire. Just watch our smoke!"
Photo: Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor