How strategic city planning is helping Miami Gardens grow its economy
Oliver G. Gilbert Mayor – City of Miami Gardens
What has been the city’s steps to improve development?
While the City of Miami Gardens was created in 2003, it had evolved in an unplanned way. There was neither a central commercial area nor a stream of commerce unique to this area. For this development, we needed control over the largest piece of property, taxpayer or economic generator, but we were the only city in Miami-Dade County that didn’t have any zoning or building control over Hard Rock Stadium. Miami-Dade had that control. We eventually started a series of discussions and we were able to come to an agreement and now share control and we’re the primary voice in what goes there. Having control is important because we are going to develop this area in a way that meaningfully affects how services are provided and what people can do in the city. The latter is the one that transforms the city into a community. We have seen community involvement in the referendum on the stadium. We are now working with Calder Race Course Casino to the north. We are decoupling the racing and gambling. Calder sits on 170 acres of land, and if we decouple the racing from the casino, they can have the casino without expanding gambling, and we can develop the area around it into a place where people can spend money. It will create jobs, improve the tax base, improve the general quality of life and decrease traffic. One way to improve traffic is by having restaurants, shopping and movie theaters closer to where people live. We are developing businesses by helping them to function more effectively. Hard Rock Stadium was a part of that and now we are moving on to Calder. My message is “I’ll be as fast as you are, and make it as easy as I can. What I need you to do is come here and make your money but provide services in a way that creates an added bonus for the people who live here and creates a reason for other people to visit.”
What is being done to attract business?
One of the things that is interesting is that a lot of major commercial corridors in this area were zoned for residential uses, so we changed that and added things like an entertainment overlay that allowed more uses. That means that when you bring your business here, you have more money. You can incentivize people to do things because people act in their own interest. You find a way to make your interests match theirs. The back part of Calder has now been rezoned to part commercial and part industrial. This is because we want to build an office park back there. We can keep the front edge for retail. Property developer Bridge has a huge site that used to be a landfill. We are working with them to transform that into a modern industrial park so that we can bring in more businesses.