OPA-LOCKA (CBSMiami ) – There’s a new pledge to crack down on crime in a neighborhood that has made headlines for years for its crime and violence; Opa-locka.
Just two weeks ago, six people were shot in an area of Opa-locka known as the triangle. Two men died from the blaze of bullets.
“All I saw was my son lying up under there and it was really just unbelievable,” said Valarie Durham, as she wiped away tears.
Durham’s 27 year old son Xavier Bodie was among the casualties.
“Now I really do feel like a part of me is missing,” she said. “My heart… it’s like I have a pain.”
Monday, leaders from the city of Opa-locka and Miami-Dade County gathers to let people know that change is coming to the area.
The area once known for its crime and problems is about to transform into a clean, relaxing place to be.
City officials are pouring $20 million into renovations, knocking down abandoned dilapidated homes and building up new ones, renovating apartment buildings and building a park surrounded by artwork.
“We were tired of it being an unforgotten neighborhood where it had the reputation of drugs and anything else that would go on here. We were tired of that. Even the people in this area did not feel that they were a part of Opa-locka,” said Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor.
Residents are thrilled to hear the news.
“That means a lot, that means a lot that my kids can go outside and play free, run free you know,” said resident Inez Aldridge.
But Bodie’s mother said change didn’t come soon enough for her son. He left behind two young children ages two and eight. Bodie never lived to realize his dream of becoming a rapper and computer technician.
“Where was the police man,” asked Durham. “If the police would have been here, my son would have been here today.”
City leaders say they are now fighting aggressively increasing patrols of the area, installing and monitoring cameras and more.
“So whatever happened on July 21st is not gonna happen again that’s the message we want to get out,” said Mayor Taylor.
Funds are also currently being allocated for building parks, soccer fields, basketball courts, and enhancing streetscapes as well as building a community center for residents.
City leaders said they plan to destroy the triangle shaped barricades at the end of Ali Baba Avenue that gave the area its name. They hope the new community will be known as Magnolia North.