Legislature approves nearly $4 million in appropriation projects for Opa-Locka

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The funding will help with a new police department, student programs and food insecurity.

After finalizing the 2021-22 state budget, Miami-Dade Rep. James Bush, III, has announced nearly $4 million in approved appropriations for six Opa-locka projects. 

“I am proud to have been able to help secure much needed resources and funding for the House District 109,” Bush said in a statement. “This took hard work, vigilant collaboration, and relentless persistence in this legislative environment. I am committed to continuing to support the constituents of the district and of the great State of Florida.”

In its largest haul, the city will receive $1.125 million to construct a new police station after the original building was damaged.

The appropriation project (SF 1258, HB 3181), filed by Sen. Shevrin Jones and Bush, initially sought $3.6 million. But, with tighter purse strings this year, the appropriation was reduced.

The city, along with private donations, are each expected to provide $1.8 million for the project, according to the requests. However, this has yet to be guaranteed.

Currently, the police department is operating out of the City Hall building.

Food insecurity is also addressed in the list of approved funding requests (SF 1666, HB 3273), with $950,000 being sent to the Florida Children’s Initiative Food Security Project, as requested by Sen. Jason Pizzo and Bush. 

The money will provide statewide support for the at-risk children and families in Jacksonville, Orlando, Liberty City, Overtown and Sulphur Springs, with $190,000 per site.

The state budget also allocates $1 million for the Overtown Youth Center (OYC), a non-profit extracurricular program for at-risk students. The funding stems from requests (SF 1806, HB 3361) filed by Pizzo and Bush, which sought the allocated amount for the program. 

The appropriations will be used to help fund overall management and oversight for the services, which aim to bridge educational, social and emotional gaps for students. The program offers mentoring, bi-monthly workshops, in-school and after-school programs and a six to eight week summer program.

The program is also funded with nearly $800,000 locally, as well as with about $1.8 million in support from private donors, according to the request.

Another extracurricular program in Opa-locka — the Renewed Minds Educational Enrichment Program — is set to receive $300,000 per a House appropriations request (HB 3175). The program aids students in grandes K-8.

Another $300,000 will be sent to New Horizons After School and Weekend Rehabilitative Program (HB 3363), which is a diversionary program that provides resources to youth with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders. 

The city is also set to receive $100,000 for its Parks and Recreation department. The funding will fulfill the total amount requested from appropriations requests (SF 1780, HB 3173) filed by Jones and Bush. An additional $100,000 in funding is expected to be provided between local government and other donors. 

The money will be used to expand security, like installing fencing, for facilities within the department. 

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


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