Our Town

Opa-locka Community Development Corporation

Opa-locka, Florida

$250,000

2011

Founded in 1980, the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation aims to create affordable housing and economic stimulation for low-income neighborhoods, both in the city of Opa-locka and other communities in the North Miami-Dade region.

The corporation's Our Town project will focus on the design and planning of new public spaces in Opa-locka's Magnolia North neighborhood. Magnolia North was sealed off in the 1980s with metal barricades, intended to isolate and mitigate high levels of crime and violence at that time. A community-wide collaborative design process will address the removal of barricades, the transformation of intersections into inviting neighborhood entryways, and the development of new public open spaces with environmentally functional landscape design. Paving, planters, lighting, seating, landscaping, and building features will serve as "canvasses" for public art, and will add aesthetic value and a heightened sense of community to the neighborhood. The process is expected to serve as a catalyst for a long-term public arts initiative in Opa-locka that will increase access to and involvement with the arts for residents and visitors. The Magnolia North neighborhood is predominantly African-American (67 percent) and Hispanic (35 percent), and its 15,000 residents must currently travel well outside of Opa-locka to experience art or cultural activities.