"An embarrassing Wall Against Our Waterfront"
Mayor Regalado and Mayor Gimenez:
I will be speaking out against the Beckham Soccer stadium in the FEC slip/Bicentennial Park area this evening on the Helen Ferre show "Issues." It is rerun on Sunday at noon (both parts have been posted below) I saw Mayor Regalado's appearance last week (which is referenced on Helen's show) and want you both to know that I respectfully but strongly disagree with your views and hope you can be convinced to rethink your position for the good of our community.
Thousands of new residents live in the area and need a real waterfront park. A vibrant waterfront is a major economic generator for the city and our region. Many, many people have fought long and hard to preserve the largely ignored park and they do not see a soccer stadium (100 feet high, 2 blocks long) benefitting private investors as "iconic" for the city but see it as an embarrassing Wall Against Our Waterfront. We have spent something like $40 million upgrading the slip and the park already.
Your time and that of other city and county administrators would be much better spent on the real problems of everyday people and good planning for our future rather than following the lead of an out of town sports celebrity who wants to take public land (worth hundreds of millions) in another in a long line of hair brained schemes. Everyone that I know would love to see soccer succeed in Miami - but not in our prime waterfront park.
People are waking up to the deceptive quality of the Beckham scheme. It was conceived quickly and makes no sense for our downtown. Traffic would be ridiculous. No parking is included in the early renderings. Oh, we see, that isn't presented to the public until later - joined by large retail and possibly gambling related business. (Google Beckham in this regard.)
And don't forget the role of the Army Corps of Engineers (months and months of delay) and the importance of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve. Our waterfront is precious in many ways.
We are aware that many many leaders have been quiet in opposing this scheme for fear of political retribution. Where is the bravery by business, cultural and political leaders in speaking out in the public interest? Once the waterfront is given away in such a manner - and with so little public input - it cannot come back. Mayor Regalado- you were a major ally in stopping John Henry from taking Bicentennial Park when we held the largest design workshp in Miami's history - in 2001 - and vowed to make the are a "premier public park." What has happened?
You two and other commissioners should step up and stop this struggle as soon as possible and help Beckham seek land west of Biscayne Boulevard - but don't take alot of your time in doing so. Suggest the Marlins Stadium area? Or the riverfront site around 1001 NW 7th St. Or the Dolphin stadium. The Beckham group, is after all, a private enterprise, right? And they should pay market price for their land. It is demeaning to bow to their demands for prime public waterfront space that so many people - including the thousands of new downtown residents - value as a real park.
You can help us turn the June 14 arrival of the Ship The Eagle and the simultaneous opening of Bicentennial Park - after so long - into a positive event we can all celebrate as a community.
The Marlin's fooled so many local officials last time but haven't we learned how the PR gurus and the lobbyists make money out of these struggles and so often leave taxpayers holding the bag? This process denigrates our pretense of being a democracy.
Following Helen Ferre's suggestion, I would like to request an appointment for a small delegation to meet with you both to further discuss this issue as soon as possible.
Vice President Urban Environment League
HERE IS PART ONE OF THE INTERVIEW
HERE IS PART TWO OF THE INTERVIEW
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