How the city of North Miami is attracting commercial interest to create positive growth
Smith Joseph Mayor – City of North Miami
What are the most important aspects of the North Miami comprehensive plan?
To me, the single biggest opportunity from the plan is the height increase that we have implemented as part of our North Miami downtown development campaign. The new height restrictions should encourage more development projects downtown as well as bring more activity to the area. Another aspect of the plan is that we are the first city to take on the leading role in dealing with the threat of rising sea levels. Global warming is a major concern and, as a city government, it is important to take the appropriate steps to address these concerns. As part of community planning and development, we have policies in place for existing construction and programs to pinpoint buildings that may be at risk if we should have any incident of sea-level rise. My vision is to have a city that is resilient and able to withstand any adverse weather or climate change that will cause damages. I’m very proud of the fact that we took the leading role after Miami-Dade County.
What are the city’s current strategies to continue to attract and retain businesses?
Attracting new business or having them join this community is one our highest priorities. As mayor, I started a campaign to bring businesses and tackle unemployment in our city. Our unemployment rate was at 9.8 percent. First, I made sure that the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (NMCRA) was extended. The NMCRA is key in attracting investment into the area, and it will benefit many of the small businesses planning to come to North Miami, even offering partial subsidies. The Solē Mia Local Preference Office (LPO) managed by Garth Solutions will be very important in increasing community involvement, not only for residents but also small businesses. The LPO offers free job training and scholarship opportunities to North Miami residents in addition to offering essential consulting services to local firms. These local businesses are part of the fabric of our city, so it’s important to look after them. We have to make sure that they stay in the city and become part of the economic machine.
What would you identify as the biggest areas where new businesses or investors can get involved?
We have several main corridors. The main one is 125th street, heading east to west. West Dixie Highway is an area that I would really like to see developed. We need to attract more investment into these areas, because there is so much potential, but the city cannot development it alone. We are trying to encourage public-private partnerships.