MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There is hot topic in the South Florida’s historic West Grove neighborhood.
It’s an area that was historically settled by Bahamian’s and African Americans, who were the city’s pioneering work force.
Elester Anderson has been living in his home in the West Grove since 1960.
“I want mine to stay as it is, like it is,” he says of his home. “I don’t think somebody should come in and push people out of their home that has been there for years.”
He’s talking about the possibility of developers buying properties in the neighborhood and demolishing the old shotgun-style homes in order to build newer, modern buildings and residences.
The developers are facing those who want to preserve the old, wooden structures.
A historic community population that would be gone forever if the homes are bulldozed.
Miami city commissioner Ken Russell is leading the West Grove preservation charge.
“This area is under the highest target for gentrification,” he said.
Under consideration is designating the area as historic or designating specific houses.
That would limit what owners can do with their homes.
J.B. Diederich has owned his duplex for years. He is currently renovating and wants to rent it out.
“I can’t have a historic board dictate what I do,” he said.
Commissioner Russell promises funds to help people like Diederich.
It’s challenging for the poor and elderly in the area to keep up with repairs to the old homes. Those people often sell to developers.
There will be a city meeting held with the intent of hashing out what exactly to do.
“The historic designation is a very, very key part of this,” Russell said. “It’s going to at least put a line in the sand, a pause button on the mass demolition that happens every week.”
Commissioner Manuelo Reyes is not on board with Russell’s plan though.
“By declaring that [area] historic, you are limiting everything,” he said.