willie-logan_web.jpgOPA-LOCKA — The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation announced that it will hold a design “charrette” or workshop Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in a renewed effort to increase economic opportunity, provide better housing and create a more attractive environment for Magnolia North, the city’s notorious “Triangle” neighborhood.

Nationally renowned architects, planners and housing professionals will join local government officials and residents in developing a plan for the area known for drugs and shootings that has been battling poverty and neglect.

“This process will help fulfill the vision I have long had for Opa-locka,” Mayor Myra Taylor said in a statement announcing the charrette. Taylor, who served a term as mayor, was elected again to head the city government in the Nov. 2 balloting.

Willie Logan, a former mayor and founder and president of the OLCDC, added, “The Vision 20/20 charette is about sparking our imaginations and building momentum behind an inspiring, yet attainable, vision that we can work toward together to achieve over the next decade.”

The OLCDC recently received $20 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s highly competitive Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). 

The NSP is intended to strengthen communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment. The OLCDC team decided to leverage the funding by not just purchasing and redeveloping foreclosed and abandoned homes, but to pursue job and business creation.

The charrette will include a tour of Opa-locka and surrounding areas, an orientation to OLCDC and an assessment of opportunities and challenges in the community.

The aim is to produce a plan that will be presented to the mayor and City Commission on Dec. 2.

According to the OLCD statement, the city has attracted several prominent design and community revitalization leaders for the charette because of its Middle Eastern architectural character and the OLCDC’s development record.

Those slated to take part in the design sessions include Maurice Cox, assistant professor of architecture at the University of Virginia, formerly director of design for the National Endowment of the Arts; David Dixon, head of planning and urban design for Goody Clancy, who led the teams that produced the master plan for New Orleans and Miami’s Parks and Public Spaces master plan. 

Also slated to attend are M. David Lee, an urban designer with experience in neighborhood planning, housing, and urban development; Reese Fayde, former CEO of Living Cities, known for her expertise in urban revitalization and the development of affordable housing; Mary Means, a community planner best known for creating the National Main Street program; and Suzanne Hague, a planner with a strong background in community development.

For more information, visit www.olcdc.org.

Photo: Willie Logan