When downtown Homestead comes to mind, local citizens think of a historic place. Homestead’s old main street lingers with the recent reopening of the Seminole Theatre. Next to the theater lies Losner Park containing a lofty stage for community events, with commemorative plaques to appreciate our military troops; across the street remains the old Homestead Town Hall, hiding treasures from the past: archives of historical documents, artifacts of Homestead’s golden age, and films that narrate the city’s history.
Next to the Town Hall resides the building that once occupied The Homestead Sun. Nearby stand many authentic Mexican restaurants, and antique shops suggesting an urban village, adjacent to rural terrain as the locale is being transformed into a suburban town.
George Gretsas, City Manager of Homestead, recounted that great downtowns have great buildings. Constructing the New Homestead City Hall and the new Police Headquarters is the starting point of revamping the city to a contemporary look, including the stage and the floodlit events of the Seminole Theatre. The vision is to have a downtown with a mixture of historic buildings and new ones with modern themes.
The main purpose of revitalizing downtown Homestead is to increase the quality of life for the residents; instead of commuting to the city of Miami, locals can enjoy the main attractions that Homestead Station will offer.
It comprises 250,000 square feet where entertainment and transportation will merge. It will serve as a new trolley hub and connect to the Miami-Dade Busway, and a parking garage for the visitors to downtown Homestead, making it convenient from the limited parking spaces fronting the buildings.
At the center of the Homestead Station, there will be a lavish entertainment center with 10 movie screens, an arcade room, 14-lane bowling alley, and shopping stores next to dining spots.
Alongside the Homestead Station, the city plans to construct a first-ever cyber library (called Cybrary). It will include the use of digital projection technology to illuminate for arriving guests a show about the history of books and stories about reading. At the very of core of the library will be a circuit tree to direct visitors towards their desired destination. It will have many features of virtual reality simulations, a special theme of a magic school bus, giving children a virtual trip through history.
Holographic virtual reality is included as characters of books will pop from their respective tales.
Olga Eby a local Venezuelan businesswoman, who has been a Homestead resident since 1998 is excited about the city’s innovations and plans. She stated, “I love people who care about beautification and people with a vision of the future.” Every time she goes through the old district, she gets excited and proud to see changes like the new City Hall, the police station and the Seminole Theatre.
Olga is on board with how businesses of Homestead will benefit from these projects, eager about the potential tourism that will not only benefit local businesses but also the residents of Homestead, who will have a more competitive market place.
According to Mr. Gretsas, the downtown improvements will help boost property values throughout the city and create hundreds of new jobs. Homestead Station will need staff to run it; hence, it will offer sustainable long-term jobs. In addition, the city plans to recruit major corporations to bring their business to the heart of downtown Homestead.
The city has majority support from the public for the revitalization of downtown. Voters in 2014 were in unison with the city’s vision of restoring the Seminole Theatre, and building a new Police Department, and other construction projects.
One of the greatest long-term challenges with projects of this nature is follow-through. The worst thing that can happen in revitalization projects is to leave the job half finished. Fortunately, here in Homestead, we have a united mayor and council willing to take smart risks and see things through to the end according to Mr. Gretsas.
Some of these projects, like the Homestead Station and the Cybrary should be completed by spring and summer of 2018.
Haz clic para leer en Español: El renacimiento del centro de Homestead