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Saturday, May 31, 2014

"An embarrassing Wall Against Our Waterfront"

Here is an open letter from Gregory Bush of the Urban Environmental League to two of our starstruck and mislead mayors, who should both possibly be recalled along with a commissioner or two:
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. 

Gregory Bush
Vice President Urban Environment League


HERE IS PART ONE OF THE INTERVIEW

HERE IS PART TWO OF THE INTERVIEW

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7 Comments:

Blogger Sledge said...

"Our waterfront is precious in many ways. "

It's too late for the Grove, where we lost exactly 5 miles of "precious waterfront" from Gables to Key Biscayne, with only a few feet of water "flashbacks" left in the Seminole Boat ramp..

They still have a fighting chance over there. Good letter, good luck though.. $$$ interests usually prevail.

May 31, 2014 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck! If you want to bolster your argument further -- look to downtown st Pete's success due to their waterfront plan. A soccer stadium would be a travesty -- look at the dead area around Ameticam Airlines Arena most of the time. How does anyone think this is a good idea.

May 31, 2014 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former resident, the Grove will always be in my heart.

Look to downtown St.Pete to see how successful a vibrant waterfront can be.

A soccer stadium would be a horror. Look how AAA Arena messed up downtown Miami -- a deserted concrete boring area 90% of the time.

Good luck with your crusade!

May 31, 2014 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly AA arena looks building like a tuna can on the water front. By the way that reminds me of Marlon Brando in the movie "On the Waterfront"
Build the soccer stadium near the former Miami Arena site.

May 31, 2014 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regalado is crazy to be pandering to Beckham's lobbyists on this issue. Stupid idea. Bicentennial Park is about to open after a long expensive renovation. Sarnoff used to call himself the green commissioner. Now we know green refers to money and not landscaping.

May 31, 2014 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terrific posts. Crooked A.A. Arena Cruise Line owner citizen of a third world country received additional cruise ship space when he pulled a typical Miami Govt pay off !!! Please help save the MIAMI Marine Stadium and the Cocoanut Grove Playhouse AGAIN!!! Was president and co founder of the Friends of the Playhouse 1977-1978 the only time in its 88 year history that it made a profit. Thanks to numerous Friends, Monty Trainer, Steve Kneapler, Jayne Harris Family, Doctors George Daviglus, Roger Sherman, Walter Garth, Craig Bass, Ray Justi plus George Cambell, Maggie Sanders, Susan Saunders, Joel Kaminer, Al Radcliff, Gene & Barry Mason, Sepy, the Spinsters, Connie Dinkler, Pat Foy, Marty Margulies and 47 more truly dedicated Miamians plus Mayor Maurice whom made it Historic in 1977. Donate the Playhouse and Marine Stadium it to the U.M. Drama and Marine Schools. T.I.D.E ferrari racing, palm beach. Tom I. Davis, Jr. TIDE yacht yacht & motorsports museum. Miami Native, PHS 61, UM 65.

June 01, 2014 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miami Herald cover story re FEC slip. Everyone is quoted except the corrupt local commissioner...
Hmm.

June 01, 2014 10:15 PM  

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