The second in a planned series of weekly rallies demanding concessions from the presumed developer of the Seventh Avenue Transit Village drew substantially fewer demonstrators than attended its debut, but organizers said they are not dismayed.
Only 11 people showed up early Friday evening, Feb. 18, at the project site on the corner of Northwest Seventh Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, compared to about 30 the week before.
Seven of them were employees or volunteers from the Miami Workers Center, the rally organizer whose office will likely be displaced by the $100 million project.
“School is out today and parents are at the school because it’s parent-teacher day,” said Lori Danley, a center representative. “It’s also a four-day holiday weekend so people are making plans for that.”
Others had a different explanation.
“We are not united together,” said Sarah Wilson, a Liberty City resident who participated in the rally.
The Miami-Dade County Commission is set to name Carlisle Development Group of Miami the lead developer of the project at its meeting Tuesday, March 1.
Many years in the planning, the Transit Village will redevelop a square block in Liberty City’s commercial corridor as a mixed use complex that would include bus, taxi and jitney transit stations; as many as 200 condominiums with rents based on tenants’ ability to pay; and spaces for small businesses.
The Workers Center wants Carlisle to promise jobs to area residents during construction of the project and guarantees that existing businesses will have affordable retail space in the complex, among other demands.
Tyrone Greene, owner of Greene Dreams, whose family’s shoe repair shop has been located on the site for some 50 years and may be displaced by the project, was absent from this second rally.
“I came by but I didn’t see anyone,” said Greene, who wants assurances that the shop can afford to rent space in the new development. “I have a business to run so I left.”
Gihan Perera, the Workers Center’s executive director, said protesters won’t give up.
“It’s still early in the game,” Perera said. “The community usually doesn’t get involved until it’s too late. We are trying to avoid that.”
Megan Wright may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.