Public-Private Partnerships, agreements between government and community groups, can provide streamlined cost-effective-and-practical solutions to retaining neighborhoods and business activities in older, established communities. Prior to 1993, Miami-Dade – or South Florida for that matter – had no successful examples of such partnerships.
Following the massive destruction wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Richmond Heights literally rewrote the history books when The RHCDC, representatives of the Metro Miami-Action Plan Trust and a conglomerate consisting of a majority of Richmond Heights neighborhood organizations, approached Redevco about the possibility of forming a public-private partnership which would jointly own and operate Promenade Plaza. Redevco considered the request and subsequently agreed, selling 51 percent of its interest in Promenade Plaza to RHCDC, which was funded by the Dade County Office Of Community Development Through its Block Grant Program, with an initial investment of $1.2 million, in order to complete the transaction.
The RHCDC within a short four years assumed 100% ownership of the center. The result was to turn the original investment into an asset value of over $5,000,000 and provide a constant stream of income to fund community projects such as in-fill housing, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization.
The purchase of Promenade Plaza has also shown positive effects in the areas of increasing tax revenues, creating local jobs and relieving the governmental burden from future support. Promenade Plaza is more than just a place to shop – it symbolizes self-sufficiency and new, positive directions for Richmond Heights today and tomorrow.
As a part of its mission to help provide economic opportunities to area youth, the RHCDC established a scholarship program for graduating high school seniors in the spring of 2003. The purpose of this scholarship program is to commend, encourage and support Richmond Heights’ aspiring young leaders. The recipients of the RHCDC scholarships are the epitome of strong work ethics combined with diligent study. In addition to excelling scholastically, all of the awardees have contributed to the community by volunteering with civic or charitable organizations, and/or serving in extra-curricular leadership activities.
Senior Handyman Program
In 2016 The Richmond Heights Community Development Corporation initiated its Seniors Handyman Program and has assisted three seniors in the Richmond Heights Community. The primary purpose of this program is to assist senior citizen homeowners who do not have the financial resources to complete minor home repairs with a grant of up to $1,000.00. This Program is available only to senior citizen homeowners (62+ years of age) who live within the boundaries of the Richmond Heights Community (SW 136 Street on the North; SW 152nd Street on the South, SW 102nd Avenue on the East, and SW 117th Avenue on the West) and are low-income homeowners, in dire situations.
In October of 2005, the RHCDC purchased another commercial business in the community, The Richmond Heights Carwash, located on Carver Drive. The purchase is part of the ongoing mission of the RHCDC to expand economic opportunities and to revitalize the community. This was a perfect way for the CDC to reinvest its money and to stimulate jobs and business growth in Richmond Heights. The facility is owned by the Richmond Heights Community Development Corporation, and revenue derived from its operation directly benefits the community.
As one of the longer range community development goals, the RHCDC launched a program to increase the number of homeowners in Richmond Heights. The goal was to provide affordable “for sale” housing and to reduce the number of vacant single-family homes being purchased as subsidized rental housing and vacant lots between homes throughout the community.
As such, the RHCDC built four single-family homes. The three-bedroom, two-bath homes offered 1,500 to 1,700 square feet of air-conditioned living space that featured a family room, dining room, living room, and single car garage. Two of the homes are located on Fillmore Street and the other two homes are located on Pierce Street and on SW 106th Avenue and SW 151st Terrace. The homes were available with special, affordable financing to qualified buyers.
The houses are part of the CDC’s long-range goal to increase the number of homeowners in Richmond Heights. New home construction, coupled with the rehabilitation of existing homes, will increase opportunities for young families to obtain safe, decent and affordable housing in Richmond Heights.
Richmond Heights has a history of being a very progressive community. The residents are active in the community and civic affairs. We have wonderful schools, churches, and organizations, working together for the good of the community. In the spring of 1999, the RHCDC Board of Directors recognized that their community could be better served by more positive news and information for its residents. It was determined that a quarterly newsletter would give the residents an additional means of communicating.
Although the RHCDC is not in the newspaper publishing business, it sought out publishers who might have an interest in their community. To better communicate and define the ongoing mission of the RHCDC, the Board of Directors secured the services of the Gospel Truth Communications and subsequently Seitz Inc., a South Florida advertising and public relations firm, to provide a comprehensive communications program that will include the development of a quarterly community newsletter that would feature positive news and information for and about the community on a quarterly basis. The Advocate serves as a vehicle to keep the community informed and is a resource that is second to none.