Miami's Shame: The Miami Marine Stadium
Designed by Miami based Pancoast, Ferendino Spillis + Candela, it opened in 1963 and was-- and still may be-- the largest unsupported concrete span in the world. That alone would have been worth the effort to repair the stadium. For all you "newcomers" and those who live someplace else here are some interesting tidbits on the stadium:
>The stadium was designed for hydroplane racing and it quickly became one of the most important venues on the circuit with the late great local Budweiser distributor Bernie Little winning race after race with his Miss Budweiser. By the time the stadium closed in 1992, hydroplanes were reaching 170mph. Now they have passed 220mph. Whether or not they can reach those speeds in this stadium course will never be known. As an aside, only one word can describe unlimited hydroplane racing at the stadium as the huge boats roared by: thrilling. If you never had a chance to see those unlimited races, to hear the roar of those jet turbines, to smell the salt air, and to feel the ocean breeze wafting up across Virginia Key on a sunny day, then you truly missed something. There was nothing like it in the world and there still isn't.
>1972: President Nixon made an appearance there with Sammy Davis, Jr.
>Jimmy Buffet, Tony Bennett, and a host of other entertainers and orchestras performed there on a floating stage for "moonlight concerts" in front of the stands. Boaters were allowed to drop anchor and watch from the water.
>1992: Declared unsafe after Hurricane Andrew.
>2002: Miami Mayor Manny Diaz promises to refurbish the Marine Stadium.
For fourteen-years it was neglected and left to decay by the county and city governments. In that time it has probably become the largest graffiti canvas in the world. There is hardly a surface not "tagged". It defines the word "trashed." The restroom facilities have been ransacked. To see it now and to remember what it once was makes you want to cry.
The initial structural report spoke of hairline fractures in the concrete roof and made the supposition that they may have been there before Hurricane Andrew. We're sure they are much worse now. If there had been someone around in government with enough vision, maybe it could have been repaired at a reasonable price. Now, the way construction costs have skyrocketed, the odds of ever seeing the stadium restored look slim to none.
It's been four years since Mayor Diaz promised to repair the stadium. We guess he forgot about it like so many others have. Too bad for all of us. As a community, it was something to be proud of , a unique thing to rally round and to enjoy. Maybe readers of this blog will get excited and want to remind Mayor Diaz about the diamond in the rough just a short boat ride from city hall. You can send him an email and other city officials by clicking here. In fact, you could remind all of our county and city officials about the Marine Stadium by clicking the links provided on MVB's homepage. Who knows, maybe one of them will want to save it. With a little vision, maybe money could be raised to fund the restoration by selling naming rights to the stadium. First one that comes to our mind: Budweiser.
When & WhereTuesday, August 26, 2008
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.Miami City Hall Chambers
3500 Pan American Drive
For more information on the Virginia Key Master Plan, please visit http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001fAzuQnAG4G5kHMXSSIvu365OGc9htCWRpJ4UAb68OmF2OzoAFqg1X5dYRhgn7nktG3klDljCDkLD1JCNYVtoYnQBTxD_svdVcH3NV0o8wQptq8K62B6OY7628hs5_0GhHWhG3mFiwkDgHSDs5jPyKg==
UpDate (9/19/08): Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium pulled off a major coup: they got the World Monuments Fund to endorse saving the Marine Stadium. This couldn't have happened at a better time because The City of Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board will discuss and possibly make a determination of the final historic designation of the Miami Marine Stadium at their meeting on Tuesday, October 7, at 3:00 PM, City of Miami Commission Chambers. Failure to do so should make them look like idiots-- or at least suspiciously on the take. If you got the time, try to stop by to make your voice heard.
UpDate (10/7/08): The City of Miami historic preservation board finally saw the light: by a vote of 8-0, it agreed to designate the Miami Marine Stadium worthy of preservation as an historic site. Let's see the visionless try to knock it down now!
UpDate (4/27/09): The Miami Marine Stadium becomes one of eleven buildings on the National Trust for Historic Preservation thanks in part to the efforts of Miami architect Jorge Hernandez and Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium. Let's see our visionless bureaucrats try to touch the old lady now.
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