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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Miami Open; They operate by being bullies

I remember in the early 1980s, that the Lipton Tennis Tournament (now called the Miami Open), was planned for desolate land on Key Biscayne. I think the land was part garbage dump at the time. I practically lived in Key Biscayne back then - I was at the beach and shops and restaurants on The Key almost daily, so this was not welcome news to me and many of the residents. I wasn't a tennis fan and didn't feel that thousands of people on the fragile island was a good thing. Couldn't people watch tennis at a stadium on the mainland? According to bully at the time, Butch Buchholz, a top tennis player from decades earlier and the founder of the tournament, this was the only site for him and the tournament.

Over the years it has drawn locals and visitors in the thousands, for the two week tournament every March. 
But now the Miami Open tennis tournament is threatening to leave because they are not getting permission to expand the site. The center should never have been built there to begin with and now they want more land and more construction, albeit 30 years after they first built the complex.

Now their bully of an attorney, Eugene Stearns, says, “At some point, it’s going to be gone. The only question is when." Is that a promise? He's threatening to leave  the county for Orlando or even Dubai and Beijing, who are interested according to him. It's all about the money with Eugene and his clients. Just like with Butch so many years ago. If he is getting such great offers, perhaps he should take it to Dubai or Beijing.  

Bruce Matheson, decendant of the family that gave Key Biscayne park land to the County was always against the stadium being built on the island and he is one of the gatekeepers, who has protected the parkland on The Key all these years. If it wasn't for Bruce, who knows what the parkland would be now, Crandon Park would not be the pristine beautiful place it is now. The land is still governed by restrictions in a 1940 agreement from when the family donated the park to the County. The park is to remain a park. That did not happen in 1980 when the tennis stadium was built.

This is more than just about the stadium, it's about developers and con-men taking over the city and county and doing with what they want - breaking zoning rules, getting spot zoning changes and simply over-developing our home. A recent article in USA Today states, "
In our rush to grow, I worry that we're losing what made this place so special to begin with: its fragile environment. Miami rests on one of the most complicated ecosystems in the country: an ocean to the east, the Everglades to the west, our drinking water in an aquifer a few feet below us. Far too often, in our hurry to become bigger and better, we've watched as those precious gifts have been plowed over in the name of progress."

Plowed over in the name of progress. 

Many residents were against the Tennis Center at the time, just like they are against the Miami International Boat Show now. It is of course because of traffic and too many people on The Key. It would not bother them to see the Tennis Tournament and the Boat Show both disappear. It sort of reminds me of David Beckham who wanted prime land downtown, remember, he wanted the waterfront filled in for his Soccer Stadium, which luckily did not happen. Our new Commissioner Ken Russell has been approached by residents asking him to do something about the destruction at Miami Marine stadium for the boat show, where a "Flex Park" is being built on site. 

“The economic destiny of Miami-Dade County and Crandon Park does not depend on a two-week tennis tournament,” said Bruce Matheson, quoted in the Herald.

Or a week-long boat show, I might add.

Story here in the Herald.

And Herald Editorial here.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous James Hawkins said...

The Miami Open is one of the nicest events in the city. Seemingly they should get whatever they need, as practicable (the Mathesons have rights - they did donate the land, after all), to have the best event possible.

But for progress, where would we be?

December 31, 2015 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

the problem resides with your definition of "progress".

Is Progress defined as creating entertainment opportunities for an elite few while inconveniencing many and damaging the environmental qualities of special and unique resources?

I think not.

I would prefer to define progress as that which enhances the quality of life of the majority of the people while simultaneously respecting and preserving essential environmental resources.

We have learned over the last few years that our collective actions to "develop" at all costs has been just that..a direction that has been far too costly to our quality of life with far reaching environmental degradation as a result.

We can no longer travel the same path that has brought us to this point in time where not only are quality of life, but our very existence, is in jeopardy.

The time has clearly come for a new paradigm that raises the level of our consciousness in relation to the real impact of constant and excessive "development".. We need to redefine our priorities in a manner that seeks balance in how we live and work..

Like a machine out of balance we are doomed to self destruct if we dont at some point very soon recognize that there are limits to the environmental degradation we can endure until we too self destruct.

Constant unchecked growth in the name of progress and "jobs" will be our end if we refuse to employ our intellectual, scientific and political resources, to protect that which sustains us ...that which sustains life..

We are on a collision course with nature. Make no mistake about it. Nature will win. Lets just hope it is not to late for us to act so as to avoid the almost inevitable consequences of life out of balance. Every one of us must embrace a new perspective that seeks to protect our environmental resources and hopefully preserve our place on this planet. The fate of future generations is in our hands.

Our future Miami, and on this Earth, is in jeopardy..If we don't act now it will simply be too late to do anything about it later.

December 31, 2015 10:18 AM  
Blogger reid prevatt said...

All that money that tournament brings in. (parking tolls, sales and hotel taxes etc.) and just look at Crandon parks facilities. Somebody should have made Crandon a more desirable place to go to the beach. Bathrooms are the pitts(they suck), cabanas not great, that food court looks 50 years old, Lack of water fountains There is some good but the good land is on the bay and is not up to snuff. That tournament ( which brings in big money most of us do not know where it goes) could and should upgrade all parks on the
Key. As far as Stearns goes he has insulted Bruce so many times I would almost do what Bruce is doing because of that guys tactics.

December 31, 2015 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mathesons donated the their land as a park WITH certain restrictions.It was accepted as such.Then the the powers that were decided to expand the definition of a "park" to include a tennis area against the wishes of the Mathesons and of common sense. Look up what actually happened then. Going by the revised"expanded definition" of a park, a Disney type amusement park would be acceptable - or a boat show - in that area when the tennis tournament leaves. It can happen again,it's Miami!

December 31, 2015 9:14 PM  
Blogger reid prevatt said...

I agree it is for the publics use and to a certain extent stay that way. But the tournament has upgraded the facilities (tennis a sport that is not big anymore) Without this tournament that we all think was on a garbage dump what would the public do with this land. As I said Crandon is a beach but not one to be proud of. Disney World No no. not what is happening here. Two weeks a year, and if you live on Key Biscayne too bad. You guys bitch about everything.. No I am not for soccer fields on Bill Baggs. Gene Stearns boy you are a bully to guy the guy who holds all the cards. ( Bruce.M) Called a well written contract that i guess will live on.

Stopped going to tennis after my parents gave up their tickets years ago but It is a great event and good for the city. I would hate to see it go but I am appalled at the structures across the street.

December 31, 2015 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Red.. Don't think you understand the concept 'for the public's use" on that land on the bay. It doesn't mean it has to be "used" (altered,changed, even accessible etc). You leave it pristine and people can come and visit such as many of our national parks, or you leave it pristine simply because it is there.And actually a "garbage dump" is a great place for birding. Maybe we should have more dumps for public use? Your concept of public use is exactly why there was unfortunately a tennis center built that was against what was the original purpose. Nothing has to be altered or changed to enjoy anything "for public use" just driving by a wooded pristine area or swamp can be a perfectly acceptable public use. Gee high rise offices built right on the waters edge that block the view but allow you to go to the top at their restaurant to get a view can and are considered for the public use. Lets do that for peacock park so we can all get a better view of the bay. We have no water view but I am sure a new 20 story glass house restaurant with a top public view would be great ..yeah right. think think think my friend. and yes this legally could happen "for the best public use". We will have a restaurant in a public park that no one wanted, why not just make it higher. Miami is built on exceptions, variances, special this special that which has basically ruined us many many years ago.

January 01, 2016 1:13 PM  

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