Deal Reached In Coconut Grove Trolley Garage Dispute
Coral Gables will have to look for a new home for its trolley garage after the City Commission approved a settlement Monday to remove it from neighboring Coconut Grove.
The dispute over the new trolley garage in the West Grove started when residents of the predominantly black neighborhood protested the construction of the garage for Gables residents.
The complaint led to an investigation that found that Florida Dade County, the city of Florida and and the city of Coral Gables had violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act because no one had conducted a study on whether the trolley garage would have a disparate impact on minorities.
Under the approved settlement, the city would sell the land to Astor, which would lease it back to the the city for eight months, to give the city time to find a new location to build a garage.
One option on the table is the fire station at 525 S. Dixie Hwy., where the city estimates it would cost $5 million to build a garage.
However, West Grove residents are still left with an empty trolley garage in their neighborhood, with no guarantee it will be used as a museum or community center.
Last year, lawyer Philip Freidin, one of the lawyers representing the West Grove residents, spoke about the trolley dispute at a city hall meeting.
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Source: The Florida Herald, “Trolley garage deal reached,” Aug. 5, 2014.