Surrounded by a backhoe and excavators, more than 250 people celebrated the groundbreaking of a new housing development project in Miami’s West Grove neighborhood Monday morning.
Gibson Plaza is designed to be a mixed-use, mixed-income housing development offering affordable housing to the elderly. This development is the first project of its kind in over 50 years.
The project is a product of a public-private partnership between Miami-Dade County, two development groups, a private foundation, and Miami-Dade College.
The timbre of the celebration was joyous, with speakers including Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and County Commissioner Xavier Suárez, but some wished it hadn’t taken so long.
“If you can’t respect the work that was done here by [West Grove’s] historic folks that have labored here… and they get gentrified out in the name of progress, I don’t think that’s progress,” said Jihad Rashid, president of Collaborative Development Corporation, one of the developers involved.
He sees this housing development as a way to attain progress while bolstering those already living in the community. Construction begins immediately and the project is slated for completion midway through 2015.