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Homestead's new cityscape: Ol' American town towards modernity

Who knows what 2010 brings to Homestead? In the past few years we have seen this ol' sleepy town take a leap towards development. Proof of that was on the real estate market boom that left its footprint all over South Dade and Homestead became, once again, fertile ground for new seeds. Just East of the Turnpike housing developments went up like children's building blocks and thousands of families moved from all over the continent. And why not? It only made perfect sense to look beyond the Miami city limits to get more square footage for your money. And as any expected suburban sprawling, shortly after came the movie theatre, hospital, schools, restaurants, ambulatory medical care and office buildings, and shopping plazas filled with a supermarket, video rental shop, nail salon, dry cleaners, bank and a series of junk food joints. All the ingredients that characterizes modern America.

Suddenly, we went from having less than a handful of supermarkets to six in less than two years and all of them now within a five mile radius. We no longer had to cross to the other side of town to make our grocery shopping. We saw a new fire station being built on the new side of town with its spiffy rescue team. We are also very lucky to be home to South Florida's first green hospital. A state-of-the-art facility that promises to shield off a category five hurricane. Banks seemed to pop up in every corner; a good sign of economical progress in a city forgotten in time. After all, Homestead endured almost two decades of deficit and depreciation, a remnant of Hurricane Andrew, a devastating catastrophe that took place in 1992.

In fact, new street signs popped up everywhere giving way to new neighborhoods dressed in pristine landscapes and new homes over the old potato, corn and sunflower growing fields of years past. The sounds of our new city resemble more those of the corner of Kendall Drive in Miami. Sirens go off at any given hour, a chopper hovers over the new hospital with a new patient, cars honk impatiently at a traffic light during Homestead's new rush hour, while the old sleepy town's police department revamps its ranks with new officers.

Life under the shadow of Homestead's big glamourous sister, Miami, provided us with some setbacks and contentment to conform to small American town status. Naturally, life is not simply about conforming but about aspiring. Up until recently, most people thought of Homestead good for only a few of things, Mexican food, car races and last chance for gas before heading to the Florida Keys. Today, Homestead's new face lift along with new services promises all the conveniences and entertainment a city can offer. Its new residents bring to Homestead a new cultural vibe thus giving more variety and proof of it is that Homestead today, thrives to offer not just a new city look but a renewed cultural environment that we can all enjoy.

Let's hope that glitzy life does not compromise Homestead's integrity and that we are able to cope with change in an orderly fashion, that financial progress and the local government are able to facilitate new avenues for innovating entrepreneurs that can establish newer and better businesses thus generating the jobs that we need and that could, in turn, help improve people's quality of life. Then, all of the new changes, from residents to city lights would give our city validity. Let's hope we can all work together in making Homestead a city worth living and an example of social integration and cultural advancement.

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