MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is under fire from a group of black ministers who oppose a plan to redevelop a blighted section of Liberty City.READ MORE: Parkland Mom Remembers, Honors Memory Of Hero Son, Peter Wang, Who Sacrificed Self To Save Others
The group ministers and community leaders led by the Rev. Richard Dunn held a press conference Monday to oppose Gimenez’s plans for redeveloping Liberty Square.
“What has happened with this process in Liberty Square has been everything but right. It’s been wrong,” Dunn said.
The Liberty Square Housing Project is a section of Miami that is notorious for shootings and drug dealings.
“I’m not coming to throw the mayor under the bus, but I want to say the mayor is wrong in the way he handled the process,” said Rev. Carl Johnson with the 93rd Street Baptist Church. “I’m not anti-mayor, but I am for what’s right.”
Earlier this month, Gimenez endorse a $307 million plan to redevelop Liberty Square – the county’s oldest public housing project.
The plan calls for the county to loan the developer, Related Urban, $48 million to help build 1,572 units of public and mixed income housing.READ MORE: Former BSO Employee Julio Chang Faces Charges In Capitol Attack
The deal came after competitive solicitation process that the ministers now question – arguing the community was not involved.
“We feel it is a good thing to develop and transform the area for the betterment of the people that live in this area. However, the process has now caused people to begin to speak evil about good intentions,” said Rev. Johnny Barber.
Watching from a distance was County Commission Audrey Edmonson who represents Liberty Square.
As the press conference came to an end, she was called to the podium where she reluctantly agreed to speak.
“This is about the process, it’s not about the project. I feel personally that my district has been disrespected and I’m going to help my district claim their respect,” she said.
Mike Hernandez, a spokesman for the mayor, said this is the best project for the community.
“We have nothing to hide from, we’re actually very proud of it. It was a very transparent process and we work directly with the community,” Hernandez said. “You are talking about a crime-ridden public housing community that hasn’t been redeveloped since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president of United States probably 80 years ago and we’re saying, ‘We can do better for you.’”MORE NEWS: Florida Fire Rescue Chief Fired For Not Forcing Firefighter Vaccinations
The proposal still needs to be approved by the commission sometime this summer.