By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The neighborhood of Little Haiti received millions of dollars Monday as part of an ongoing revitalization project.

At a news conference at Little Haiti’s giant “Magic” sign at NE 62nd Street and NE 2nd Avenue, Magic City Innovation District, a developer, handed the city a check for $3 million in hopes of further developing the community.

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The money is just the start of efforts to push forward while preserving the neighborhood’s thriving culture as Little Haiti leaders are hoping to idle gentrification.

“Gentrification is real”, said Miami Mayor Frances Suarez. “It’s real”.

Other Miami neighborhoods, like Wynwood, have experienced gentrification. Housing prices there have skyrocketed over the years after the neighborhood became a hub for the arts, business, and nightlife activity. Many neighbors could no longer afford to live there and were forced to move.

What’s happening in Wynwood, like its vivid murals, threatens to bleed into Little Haiti. That’s why the Little Haiti revitalization project hopes to idle that gentrification.

The concerted effort to revitalize the neighborhood, empower its residents and provide business opportunities has been an ongoing process for Commissioner Keon Hardemon.

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Suarez gives Hardemon the credit for bringing Little Haiti this far, saying, “He’s believed. He’s always believed that a neighborhood deserves more. He’s always believed that neighborhoods should be preserved at all costs”.

Over the year’s Little Haiti has seen somewhat of a renaissance. A Caribbean marketplace with colorful shops now dots 2nd Avenue. Hardemon managed to get soccer fields and a recreational area built for the community. He was able to negotiate plans for affordable housing in the future.

Little Haiti is now a preferred commuter line stop that runs from Aventura to downtown Miami. Where the rail line stop will be is still up in the air.

The face of Little Haiti has changed exponentially in the past 10 years.

“When I first became a Miami city commissioner, this community called Little Haiti was truly begging for support. When you look at things that bring pride to this community, that matter. When you see the significant investment that we make in the people and places, historically we’re on the right side of history,” said Hardemon.

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While there are no affordable housing projects under construction at this time, the money given on Monday is just a small part of $31 million dollars being pumped into the neighborhood to make Little Haiti a prized jewel of the Magic City. Team