RMA: Removing Roadblocks to Reinvention

By Kevin Crowder

The North Miami CRA had been struggling for almost a decade to revitalize the City, but unfortunately they were at the right place at the wrong time – encountering the Great Recession with a plan that relied too much on one development to grow the tax base for CRA funding which never materialized. In addition, the North Miami redevelopment agency’s agreement with Miami-Dade County was for only 11 years, and is scheduled to expire in October 2016. As the City took steps to extend the agency’s life up to 29 years, it realized that it was critical to gather input from residents and stakeholders. North Miami needed experts to craft and implement a new vision. RMA was hired as the City’s consulting firm and stepped in with a fresh approach, community engagement and a new realistic plan for private sector investment. Within a short time, the RMA downtown redevelopment strategy began garnering praise from media and residents alike!

Cities seek out RMA because we figure out what the roadblocks to reinvention are, and then we remove or fix them. Our team immediately knew that a realistic approach towards investment was needed; one that was an economic development driven plan, based on the realities of the market. We assessed the strengths of the City and determined that its location, openness to new business, and established industries, like music, were key to revitalization.

Understanding the community’s assets, however, is only one part of the process; the community’s needs and expectations are just as critical. RMA’s philosophy encompasses our belief that community and stakeholder involvement is critical in the development and implementation of the shared vision and strategy process.

In a series of community meetings hosted by RMA, residents described what they wanted and we ascertained the key priorities to be: better use of the downtown area for artists, small business owners and merchants through street fairs and markets, and physical improvements like covered bike racks, more trees and cleaner sidewalks.

“We are in the prime location, by the beach, by downtown, we’re right in the midst of everything and we’re relatively cheap,” resident Laura Hill said.

RMA then developed a plan with four focal points:

  1. Attract a variety of investment and capitalize on strengths
  2. Increase public improvements and infrastructure
  3. Improve residential quality of life and housing
  4. Enhance community assets

Through implementation of the four focal points of this plan, the North Miami CRA will be able to:

  • Enhance Downtown and the Commercial Corridors
  • Expose their unique Music Industry Opportunity
  • Invest in Public Private Partnerships
  • Capitalize on the future Tri-Rail Coastal Link Connection
  • Preserve their Neighborhood Character

Plans are currently underway to create a dynamic new downtown that will offer a variety of mixed-use opportunities. The firm is also conducting a community survey for additional feedback on the specific downtown businesses and improvements they want to see. In addition, RMA understands that branding (North Miami=NoMi) and a targeted marketing campaign begin generating excitement for what will be. Therefore, Sharon McCormick, RMA’s Director of Marketing and Business Attraction has already been working on cool ideas for a new downtown tagline such as “Get 2 NoMi”.

With the community engaged and stakeholders support for a reinvented downtown, everyone will want to “Get 2 NoMi”!
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