The area’s strategic location makes it a viable destination for visitors. The business generated by tourism to the tropical South is a key factor in the economic stability and growth of the community. The area has attracted enterprises such as the Homestead Miami Speedway, Wal-Mart, Sedano’s, Home Depot, Office Depot and many more.
Homestead/Florida City has moved into a technological economy. According to Miami-Dade County and the University of Florida, Miami-Dade County’s population will increase by over 500,000 by 2005. To provide employment for the increasing population, Miami-Dade must target industries that accelerate both the growth of above average income and entry level jobs. The industries that are ‘deemed best-suited’ are biomedical, film/entertainment, financial services, information technology, international commerce, telecommunications and the visitor industry. High-paying jobs in fast-growing industries in turn create others at all levels that cut across governmental, social, ethnic. economic and political constituencies.
The first phase of the business incubator center is operating in Homestead and can assist soon-to-be entrepreneurs and new business owners in the basics to help them succeed. A grant from NASA and assistance from Miami-Dade Community College is making it possible.
Public and private resources exist that help businesses prosper. These include the Vision Council, the Perrine-Cutler Ridge Council and the Beacon Council.
COMMERCE & TRADE
There are lucrative incentives for businesses that locate in the Enterprise and Empowerment zones, in which a portion of the greater Homestead and Florida City area lie. There is talk of a water-theme park coming to the area and the future development of the property adjacent to the Homestead Air Reserve Base is seen as a contributing factor in the economic health of south Miami-Dade County.
The area’s new industries offer big-city employment opportunities within a small-town environment. Office Depot, Home Depot and Wal-Mart have built stores along the US I corridor in Florida City, providing hundreds of local jobs.
Agriculture is still a great source of revenue and serves as a mainstay of the economy. Nearly half of the winter vegetables consumed in the United States are grown in tropical South Florida. Miami-Dade County’s agriculture, which represents nearly $1 billion annually in local economic impact, is located on just six percent of the county’s available land.
Besides providing national and international markets with tropical produce and plants, the agricultural industry also contributes to the revenue generated by tourism. Scattered throughout the region are agricultural fields that allow self-harvesting of vegetables. Many roadside stands offer crops that are specific to the tropical climate including mango, avocado, lychee and carambola. Agricultural-guided tours expose visitors to the industry in what is the only subtropical farming area in the continental United States. U-pick stands are often a destination of local and regional visitors.
Tropical South Florida’s warm sunny winters bring in millions of visitors every year. With the sprawling expanse of the Everglades to the west, the pristine Biscayne National Park to the east, the glitz and glamour of Miami to the north and the Florida Keys to the south, the greater Homestead/ Florida City area plays host to many visitors, some who decide they want to make this their permanent home.