Let’s keep the Overtown project ‘totally transparent’

Miami Times Editorial Department | 9/26/2013, 9 a.m.

Within the last month, as the deadline approached for the Miami county commission to either approve or reject the CRA-recommended developer for a $250M multi-use project, some citizens wondered if this would be yet another too-good-to-be-true deal that went up in flames before the ground was even broken. But so far, we have seen more lucid minds come to the table with a rare act of compromise invoked.

We applaud all of the decision-makers for agreeing to a compromise that will use the best of two developers, Overtown Gateway Partners and All Aboard Florida — the former known for their success in developing residential properties — the latter for their expertise in the commercial and retail side of the business. Both teams will benefit from the transportation hub that will be built by All Aboard Florida as will the people of Overtown.

But there are other pieces to this puzzle that could greatly benefit the Overtown community, as long as they don’t turn into back-room, under the table deals. Both developers have agreed to contribute money into a community fund that will be aimed at helping youth programs and fledgling businesses, just to name a few. Our concern is that when these and other monies are received, that the lion’s share will go to administrative costs instead of the actual development or the foundation and its specific goals. We advocate a totally transparent accounting process that ensures that every dollar is spent for the good of Overtown — not to help a few of people become quiet millionaires. Overtown has suffered for far too long. Let’s make sure they finally get their just deserts.