andre_williams_web.jpgMIAMI GARDENS –  An area community development corporation that received $20 million from the federal government to acquire abandoned houses, rehabilitate and make them available at an affordable cost is turning its attention to two communities in Miami Gardens.

  The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation is including Bunche Park and Rainbow Park in this neighboring city as it spends the money over three years.

Miami Gardens City Councilman Andre Williams, who hosted a March 8 town hall meeting recently with OLCDC founder and president/CEO Willie Logan, said that the grant requires the CDC to build 81 homes within the next three years.

But within the next five years, the CDC hopes to extended that number to 540 homes, providing 4,320 jobs for workers who will earn about $12,441,000 during the rehab process.

“We project 8,100 local subcontractors will be utilized for those 540 units, as well,” Williams said in a statement Tuesday to South Florida Times.

“We project that 260 single-family units will be purchased and rehabilitated, with 3,900 local subcontractors utilized and 2,080 laborers with a total labor revenue pool of $5,990,000,” Williams said.

“A total of eight laborers are projected to receive $23,040 per unit built (a projected composite total of 800 units),” he said.

“These projects will have an incredible impact on our community by providing jobs to our residents who are unemployed and struggling to put food on their table and by supporting local businesses,” Williams added.

Logan gave a presentation on his organization’s plan to spend the $20 million grant it received through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, that included the Bunche Park and Raimbow Park components.

“We’re neighbors, so let’s get to work,” said Logan, whose CDC is based in Opa-locka.

Williams said he called the meeting to give the community a chance to learn about the grant and ask questions and raise concerns.

“Bunche Park and Rainbow Park are some of the most distressed areas,” Williams said at the meeting. “It makes sense that we should partner with the Opa-locka CDC and make a more efficient plan of action for revitalizing this area.”

Sharon Williams, deputy director of the OLCDC, said that the agency’s goal is to make the neighborhoods safe, affordable and comfortable for families who live or want to live in the area.

“One of our goals is to make sure that we correct the wrongs that have transpired over more than 20 years,” Sharon Williams added. “No one has invested money; we’re doing that. No one cares about ‘rehabbing’ the homes that are currently here; we are doing that. We’ve decided to make it a neighborhood of choice.”

The Rev. Rogery Adams, whose church hosted the town hall meeting, expressed a vision similar to what the CDC officials portrayed.

“We have to build that community [and] get some of the vacant properties fixed up so that people do feel safe and secure,” said Adams, pastor of Mount Zion AME Church.

“Somehow or other, we’ve got to take back our community,” Adams said. “We just can’t talk about it and preach about it. When things come up that can make it happen, we need to help and make a statement.”