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Miami Herald: Despite Zika scare, a Wynwood pioneer pleads with visitors to return

By Nicholas Nehamas



As airplanes spray Wynwood with pesticides and visitors vanish, a neighborhood pioneer is urging people not to give up on Miami’s popular tourist destination despite a Zika scare.“I ask that in the next days and weeks ahead when you think about going out to eat, or going out for a drink, or shopping for clothing or sunglasses, or going to a movie, that you please consider coming to one of Wynwood’s many businesses,” developer David Lombardi wrote in a Facebook post that has been shared more than 300 times.

“These are young men and women who have put everything on the line to open a business with the greatest entrepreneurial spirit and they deserve and need your business more than ever at this critical time. ... Also please share this message on your own Facebook pages and help keep Wynwood alive and thriving because a Miami without a Wynwood is like a body without a soul.”
Lombardi was an early investor in Wynwood and developed the Wynwood Lofts condo project in 2005.
Business owners in the area have criticized the response of local and state leaders, and one neighborhood stalwart temporarily shut its doors. “Some area businesses have reported losses of 50 percent or more over recent weeks,” said a statement released by the Wynwood Business Improvement District, a group of more than 400 property owners. “That is a serious impact that warrants clear answers from our elected leaders.”
Popular vacation destinations where Zika took hold, including Puerto Rico, have seen their tourism industries suffer, although projections of mass infection didn’t come to pass.

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