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4/17/03 - Miami Herald
Proposal calls for 961 housing units in Scott, Carver area
By Andrea Robinson
Hundreds of Liberty City residents who would be displaced by a controversial redevelopment
project may get to stay in their neighborhood under a plan endorsed Wednesday by
a county commission committee.
The proposal would earmark 961 new or existing homes for ownership, rental and public
housing. More than 400 units would be where the James E. Scott and Carver housing
projects now are and the rest would be nearby.
The number is nearly three times the 371 homes in the county's original plan. The
proposal will go before the full commission on May 6, said Commissioner Dorrin Rolle,
who sponsored the proposal and chaired the Economic Development Committee that supported
''My job is to make sure we have sufficient housing stock for those who want to
come back to the area,'' Rolle said. ``I think we accomplished that today.''
Wednesday's meeting, attended by more than 150 residents and community activists,
could be the first step in resolving a three-year battle between the county and
Scott/Carver residents, who say many of them would not benefit after the housing
projects are razed and rebuilt. Some residents have temporarily halted the redevelopment
project by filing a federal lawsuit to force the county to redraw the plan.
Residents and activists said Wednesday that while they were not completely satisfied,
they believed the county finally had made a good-faith effort to address their concerns.
''All we've been asking is for the county to revise the plan,'' said Billy Hardemon,
chairman of the Martin Luther King Economic Development Agency.
The controversy began in 1999, when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
awarded the Miami-Dade Housing Agency $35 million to jump-start the project.
The goal of HOPE VI is to bring radical change to urban neighborhoods with single-family
homes and town homes replacing public housing across the landscape. Several communities
around the United States have undergone similar deconstructions, though many of
those projects have not been as contentious as Miami's.
HUD has increasingly supported the concept as it moves away from subsidizing public
housing projects. Several Scott/Carver tenants have used relocation services from
the HOPE VI program to rent or purchase homes, but they are usually miles away from
the Liberty City neighborhood.
Critics contend that the redevelopment is a ruse for moving out poor blacks in favor
of middle-class homeowners.