Thursday, April 19, 2007
Dancing The Conga Around The Miami Marine Stadium Question
It's been over 10 days since we asked a Miami city commissioner these simple questions: If engineering reports come back that the Miami Marine Stadium is salvageable, would you vote to save it? and, Would you be open to having a major company such as Budweiser pay all or part of the restoration costs in exchange for naming rights, i.e., the Budweiser Miami Marine Stadium?
The commissioner, whose district includes the Marine Stadium, danced around the question with a lame response from staff: "Until the Virginia Key master plan is complete, the fate of the Marine Stadium remains in limbo."
What's wrong with saying in advance you would vote to save the Marine Stadium if it proves salvageable? Or that you would be open to searching for a private company to pay for the restoration in exchange for naming rights? We're still waiting for a more forthright answer.
Another source says planners are "considering reusing/redesigning the Marine Stadium as an entry way building for Biscayne National Park."
Say what? We asked for clarification and never got it. MVB would like to think that means incorporating the Marine Stadium into future plans which allows the stadium to continue to do what it was built to do: provide a covered viewing stand to watch boat races-- and to listen to concerts. Finally, our city planners and non-communicative city commissioner should be reminded that the Marine Stadium has been recognized by the Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Dade Heritage Trust for its architectural and historical value so, keepa your hands off!
The Virginia Key Public Planning Coalition will be holding a luncheon next Tuesday "to bring some sane planning to the marine Stadium area." The meeting is open to the public and starts at Noon at the Sierra Club, 2700 SW 3rd Ave, Suite 2F. If planning on attending, call first just to make sure it's still on at (305) 860-9888.
UpDate (4/24/2007): There was no meeting. We called first to find out and hopefully you did too.
On the same website above, click here to see an eye-opening and damning video about the Marine Stadium made by high school kids from Turner Tech. Hopefully their efforts and the emails from fans of the Marine Stadium from around the world* won't fall on deaf ears and that the old scarred and disfigured grand dame will be rescued from an ignoble fate.
*MVB knows for a fact through our Site Meter that many people emailed the mayor and commissioners because of the "out clicks" to the email addies we provided. After notifying the main boat racing organizations-- with special thanks going out to Taryn Baze of the American Boat Racing Association in Pasco, WA, David D. Williams of the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent, WA, and award-winning boat racing photographer and writer Bill Osborne for getting the word out through emails to their members and friends urging them to check out our postings and to let their voices be heard and taking the time to write personal letters to mayor Manny Diaz-- we were swamped with hits from as far away as Australia and, three weeks later, we're still getting hits with out clicks to the City of Miami mayor and commissioner email links.
UpDate (8/27/08): The "experts," AKA city planners/consultants, came back with the latest designs for Virginia Key. Despite an earlier charette where the public overwhelmingly agreed that the Marine Stadium should be saved, it is glaringly absent from this latest iteration. In its place: Two 5-story parking garages, a "dry-stack" boat storage for 700 boats, 41,000sf of "small scale retail," and Olympic-sized swimming pools among other sundry items. The city and its experts have effectively destroyed one of the few things that makes Miami unique in the world and replaced it with the pedestrian. The Marine Stadium was the only one of its kind on the planet. Now, because it might be "cost prohibitive" to fix-up, we have become a lesser city, less unique, and a people less worthy of being taken seriously, at being looked upon by others as blessed, lucky, special and cool.
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!