We’ve made progress toward building a more vibrant community as a result of our projects in housing, community policing, area beautification and more. See what we’re doing to drive economic development and improve the quality of our lives and community. Our past and current projects have made an impact on the re-development of the Naranja Lakes CRA, and our work will continue to effect change on the area’s job growth, economic and business development, housing, walkability, beautification and more.
Take a look through our most recent accomplishments during 2018-2021.
In a partnership with Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, Inc., the Naranja Lakes CRA has and continues to, rehabilitate, preserve, and revitalize residences in the Area. The CRA provided a $100,000 grant to Rebuilding Together and worked with churches, community centers, government officials and not-for-profit organizations to repair and modify homes in the Area. The efforts made by neighbors and volunteers improved and increased the safety and health of each home.
To expand housing development initiatives within the redevelopment area the Agency has also adopted the following programs:
- Expand the Rebuilding Together Housing Improvement Program
- Partner with an established housing developer community to develop permanently affordable owner-occupied housing
- Master Plan the Miami-Dade County Library Property, excluding adjacent land designated as park
- Partner with established provider to implement a First Time Home Buyer Program
In January 2020, the Agency considered an unsolicited proposal to provide tax increment funding for the conceptual development of the Redland Market Village (Redland Market). The development aims at capitalizing on market conditions that supports the vision of a vibrant South Dade community while having a positive impact for the area through job creation and preservation, workforce housing, educational connections, and a Transit-Oriented component, all of which can place the area as a desirable destination to live, work and visit.
In a joined effort with the County’s Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department (PROS) the Agency received a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) $105,300 grant for a highway beautification project along the U.S. 1 corridor in December 2019. The CRA will provide a 100 percent funding match for the median beautification project, consisting of planting shade trees, low maintenance Florida friendly shrubbery and palms where current Coco and Sabal palms exist to create a gateway into the Area.
Seeking beautification of the commercial corridor has been one of the Agency’s priorities to attract businesses and redevelopment. As required by the grant acceptance guidance, the County’s PROS team prepared the landscape design plans and submitted the construction documents for FDOT review in July. The FDOT reviewing team provided comments which are in the process of being addressed by the County’s PROS landscape team.
The Agency worked closely with area residents to identify and undertake cleaning of areas affected by illegal dumping and unkept vacant lots. Maintaining vacant lots trimmed and free of debris and illegal dumping is a strenuous effort that requires continued engagement with the County’s Solid Waste Department, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), and the Code Enforcement Division of the Regulatory and Economic Resources Department to eliminate blight conditions in the area.
The Agency knows that having a safe, clean and maintained area is essential to attracting developers and new businesses, which is why they continue to be resilient in addressing these conditions. To help curtail illegal dumping, the Board funded the purchase of two surveillance cameras and directed staff to work with the Solid Waste Department to identify appropriate equipment to achieve the desired outcome in the redevelopment area.
It’s essential to the Naranja Lakes CRA that the community come together. Knowing this, the Neighborhood Resources Unit (NRU) officers continue to hold several community outreach events in order to strengthen and foster relations between the police and the community. The officers distribute crime prevention flyers, encourage residents to reach out to them when they observe a crime or suspicious persons, and educate residents on developing crime trends in the area. It’s important to bridge the gap between the local police and the community in a friendly atmosphere to foster trust and cooperation. Nurturing these relationships is vital to cultivating citizen cooperation with viable information when crime activities occur in their neighborhoods.
Some of the community events over the past few years included:
- Halloween Haunted House at Live Like Bella Park
- In collaboration with Commissioner Levine Cava, the event included safe candy for trick-or-treating, amenities, and a costume contest
- Holiday Toy Drives
- Kids from the communities of Seapines, Sunset Point, and Live Like Bella Park received toys donated by non-profit organizations
- Wall Painting Beautification Project
- Police Officer Trainees joined this project near Sunset Point targeting a wall covered in graffiti and an area poorly maintained; the wall was painted, the shrubbery trimmed, and the debris cleaned
- One-Stop Walk and Farm Share Event
- These events provide multiple resources to the surrounding communities at a single location and provided residents with a week worth of food
- When a juvenile male lost his life to gun violence, a community event was organized to bring gun violence and gang awareness to the area residents
- Summer Camp Programs
- Programs were held in the Waterside and Seapines communities, officers made presentations about bullying, teambuilding and anti-violence
In response to the dire impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic in the business community, the Agency created an Emergency Business Grant Program, allocating $500,000 to provide funding to up to 166 small businesses located in the Redevelopment Area. These businesses were negatively impacted by the Florida Governor and County Mayor order, issued in March, to shut down all non-essential businesses due to the Pandemic.
The Agency partnered with Neighbors and Neighbors Association, Inc. (NANA), to administer the program. NANA’s established presence in the community allowed for immediate program implementation, given their existing relationship with businesses and having the personnel ready to get the funding out during the critical time when it was greatly needed. By creating the Emergency Business Grant Program, the Agency provided needed financial relief in the amount of $3,000 to eligible businesses, with ten employees or less, ensuring that those businesses remain in the area.
For fifteen years, the Agency has partnered with the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) South District to implement Community Policing strategies that address the complexities of criminal activities which are prevalent in areas in need of redevelopment, particularly with diverse neighborhoods and large business corridors along U.S. 1 and along Southwest 137th Avenue. In addition to the business corridors, the redevelopment area boundaries consist of the following subdivided communities: Mandarin Lakes, Sunset Point, Water Side, Heritage Squares and Leisure City residential neighborhoods.
Mr. Kevin Greiner, Principal at UrbanCentric Analytics, has provided economic development coordinating services to the Agency since 2019. Guided by the priorities adopted by the Board during the prior fiscal year, the economic development coordinator pursued initiatives of potential interest to the Agency.
Agency Adopted Priorities:
- Marketing & Brand Identity Development
- Business Development & Job Creation
- Labor Force Development & Training
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Safety & Security
- Tourism Development
- Long-Term Major Development Project Planning
- Resource Development
The Agency issued a Request for Proposals seeking firms to provide marketing and public relations services. After a competitive process that included proposals from seven firms an Evaluation Selection Committee was convened to review and rank the proposals. Out of the top two ranked finalists invited to make oral presentations, the Committee recommended Roar Media, LLC to provide the required services. The Agency accepted staff recommendations and directed staff to negotiate a contract with the selected firm.
Roar Media deliverables include:
- Promoting the CRA, its communities, businesses and competitive strengths
- Informing businesses regarding the CRA’s grant, incentive and investment programs
- Promoting the growth of tourism and stimulate visitor growth
- Updates the CRA’s image through a rebranding and possible renaming of the CRA.