Latest 2 plans move road, enlarge Bicentennial Park to accommodate Marlins
By Paola Iuspa
Two closely guarded plans to put the Florida Marlins in Bicentennial Park were being discussed Tuesday one from Miami Mayor Joe Carollo and another crafted by a group under former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre at the behest of Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas.
Both plans hinge on moving Biscayne Boulevard one to the east and one to the west to expand the park enough to allow the stadium to co-exist with other future occupants.
Mr. Carollo's plan moves the road away from the water to help gain more than 13 acres of land.
Designers of Mr. Ferre's plan would not discuss it publicly but Mr. Carollo said he knows it puts the stadium on the site of a strip of Biscayne Boulevard, rerouting the road east and thus requiring it be moved before stadium construction could begin.
Both plans attempt to reconcile desires from those who want a park and those who want other facilities.
Mr. Carollo said his plan includes a 40,000-seat baseball stadium, a promenade, a new Miami Art Museum, a Children's Holocaust Museum and a sculpture garden. Mr. Carollo, who was to meet with Mr. Penelas Wednesday about the plan, said he showed the design to Marlins officials and got a good response.
Julio Rebull Jr., Marlin executive vice president, said the team was glad to get new proposals that put the team in Bicentennial.
"There are two critical elements we want in any plan," he said. "One is clear Bicentennial Park is the most feasible site for the stadium. Second, it would have to open by 2004."
To gain space in the Carollo plan, two-thirds of a rectangular marine slip south of the park would be filled to add about 6 acres. More land would come from rerouting Biscayne Boulevard and buying Quik Park lots owned by Hank Sopher, Mr. Carollo said.
He said buying Mr. Sopher's land would cost about $40 million and selling the Miami Arena might provide funds to do that. The cost to reroute the boulevard has not been determined.
Gary Donn, director of public transportation for the Florida Department of Transportation, said realigning Biscayne would take "at least a couple of years.
"It would take more than a year to do an environmental study," he said, "and the permitting process doesn't start until you are in the design phase."
But Mr. Carollo said that under his plan, stadium construction could begin while studies and permitting take place.
About 25 acres in the park would remain open, he said. A closed Metromover station would be re-opened next to the park in the Carollo plan and two other stations provide access to the area.
Mr. Carollo's plan came as Mr. Ferre's was taking shape. But Mr. Ferre said Tuesday he would not announce details until it was finished possibly next week.
Mr. Carollo said the Ferre plan which would partially reroute Biscayne, use land across the street and put the stadium between the boulevard and northeast Second Avenue was not feasible.
"There is not enough land to put the stadium there," he said. "And the Marlins would have to wait for Biscayne to be rerouted before they could build the stadium."
Commissioner Johnny Winton, heading yearlong efforts to redevelop the park, said Tuesday he knew nothing of the Carollo plan.