MIAMI, Florida, USA (sentinel.ht) – With a unanimous vote, Little Haiti became the first area of Miami to have its boundaries officially drawn and designated by the City of Miami.
“We can’t wait any longer,” warned activist Marleine Bastien. “If you don’t vote today we will not have Little Haiti.” Haitian-American leaders and activists presented their case for the designation at a session on Thursday, May 26, 2016, at Miami City Hall.
City commissioners voted 5-0 in favor of the designation and attendees of the meeting erupted in applause according to the Miami Times.
For 16 years, dating back to discussions with the late Miami Commissioner Arthur E. Teele Jr., activists sought the designation in recognition of the area of the city where many refugees lived after arriving from their island nation. They also sought to stave off what they saw as encroachment from developers.
The area was previously called Lemon City, a neighborhood that predates Miami’s incorporation. Opponents of the Little Haiti designation said that it would wipe out the area’s history and heritage, the Miami Herald reported. They said the boundaries were insensitive to the Bahamian founders of Lemon City.
The area in question is on the northern part of Miami, west of Interstate 95. The proposed boundaries are roughly from 79th to 54th streets between Northwest Sixth to Northeast Fourth avenues. Hardemon’s office said the designation con-nects with a tourism strategy to promote cultural tourism, which creates experiences unique to a neighborhood to bring visitors into the area.