MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Flashing lights, bullet holes, and teddy bear memorials have become so common in the Liberty Square Housing Project, ask any neighbor and they will point out multiple spots around their homes where people were murdered.
One of those murder victims was 9-year-old Sherdavia Jenkins. Hit by a bullet while playing on her front stoop.
Now the housing complex, nicknamed the ‘Pork and Beans’ project, could be razed to the ground.
“We have a problem. We know there is a problem. We know there’s been one. We’re trying to tackle it by revitalizing the area,” said Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s spokesman Mike Hernandez.
Hernandez told CBS4’s Natalia Zea the Mayor’s proposal to tear down the Liberty Square project would use $74 million of county, state and federal money, to build a mixed-use, mixed income public housing complex in its place.
“It’s going to be the largest renovation, revitalization of a public housing complex in county history,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez insists all Liberty Square residents in good standing with their leases will be guaranteed a place to live in the new facility. The first phase of the project would temporarily move one-third of them to the nearby Lincoln Gardens complex once construction begins.
He says the five-year project could cut down on crime.
“When you help the families moving out of it, when you come back in you can weed out some of the criminal activity.”
Zea spoke with several people off camera in the complex. Some are concerned that this project could be torn down because they’re not sure where they’ll go. But others support tearing it down, saying the amount of crime they have endured while living there is too much for them to take.
Project supporters say in addition to improving the economy in Liberty City and bringing in construction jobs, the new project will breathe new life into an area impacted by so much death.
The full Board of County Commissioners must approve reallocating $32 million of General Obligation Bond money for the project.
They are expected to vote on the item in the next two months. From there, the county will put out a Request for Proposals to developers to begin the design and construction process.