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Front Page » Top Stories » Chamber Discusses Military Theme For Parks Waterways

Chamber Discusses Military Theme For Parks Waterways

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Written by on May 17, 2001

By Victor Cruz
Chamber discusses military theme for park’s waterwaysBy Victor Cruz

For years the bulkhead adjacent to Bicentennial Park has been allowed to languish, irritating the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, according to President Philip Blumberg.

The stretch was a dedicated deep-water dock for incoming ships years ago, he said.

Now, City of Miami-hired consultants are offering options for the redevelopment of Bicentennial Park that give the chamber hope that the bulkhead along with another boat slip near the American Airlines Arena might be repaired, said Helen Colby, the chamber’s liaison to the military affairs council. Chamber members have discussed having ships once again bring their military personnel to Miami.

"I don’t know anybody against that; it’s a win-win all the way around," said Rob Weinreb a city-hired public liaison for the Bicentennial Park Committee.

The boat slip adjacent to the American Airlines Arena is 1,300 feet long and 300 feet wide. And the bayside bulkhead runs for 1,300 feet adjacent to Bicentennial Park.

The military affairs council is targeting both the boat slip and the area next to the bulkhead at Bicentennial as locations that could accommodate naval ships.

"There are cruisers and destroyers that are constantly looking for ports for leave," Mr. Blumberg said.

Consultants from Dover, Kohl, & Partners, who proposed three models for redevelopment of Bicentennial, said the repair of all 1,600 feet of bulkhead would cost $8 million to $10 million.

The three models for the park’s development that consultants unveiled all included, to varying degrees, provision for incorporating the boat slip and the bayside area into places where ships could dock, Mr. Weinreb said.

Fourteen years ago the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the area and designated it for the chamber’s Visiting Ships Program, Ms. Colby said.

Under that program, the chamber welcomed military ships from other countries.

A year ago, Mayor Joe Carollo asked the city to study filling the boat slip. That study has been put on hold until the Bicentennial Park Committee’s efforts are thoroughly considered, said Carlos Gimenez, city manager.

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