Rough Road: Officials working to have Opa-locka street repaved

(WSVN) - Business owners in one South Florida city say a bad road is driving away customers. And as 7’s Andrew Scheinthal reports, they are pleading with the city to repair this “Rough Road.”

Anelis Brito, Cairo Lane business owner: “We’re losing. We’re losing money, we’re losing everything.”

Anelis Brito says her used car parts store on Cairo Lane isn’t losing money because she can’t find customers. She’s losing money because her customers can’t get to her.

Anelis Brito: “Customers are complaining. They don’t want to come through, which I totally understand.”

A trip to her Opa-locka store includes driving though pools of water and mud, dodging dozens of 18-wheelers and avoiding massive potholes.

Timothy Holmes, Opa-locka commissioner: “I’m ashamed to sit here and talk about it. The problem didn’t start in the ’90s, the problem’s been back ever since the ’80s.”

For years, Opa-locka city leaders have promised to repave the road. Three years ago it was even announced they had a loan from the state to fix it.

Anelis Brito: “They took pictures and they did a big thing, and newspapers and channels. They were going to start working on that road.”

But the state took back its loan offer after the FBI uncovered financial mismanagement and corruption in Opa-locka. The city is now working with an oversight panel to help dig itself out of debt.

But commissioners say repairing this road is still a priority.

Matthew Pigatt, Opa-locka commissioner: “Cairo Lane is just one project, but there are many places across Opa-locka that are dealing with deplorable infrastructure.”

But to get back the state loan, Opa-locka had to show it could afford to pay for part of the project.

In the city budget approved in December, $2.1 million was found to pay contractors.

And the state agreed to give the $40 million loan back to the city, which will be used for Cairo Lane and other road projects.

Matthew Pigatt: “Based upon the timeline, this should be fixed by the end of the year.”

The city is in the process of finalizing the plans for the project now, but Commissioner Holmes admits to business owners that it should have been done earlier.

Timothy Holmes: “We could have had all these problems taken care of, and we didn’t get it done. I apologize to you all for that.”

Anelis is hoping this latest promise will pave the road for her customers to come back.

Anelis Brito: “We need this road fixed. We need this road fixed soon.”

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