Parking authority agrees to help arts center
By Deserae del Campo
The Miami Parking Authority and Miami Performing Arts Center officials are negotiating a plan for the authority to manage parking for the center in time for its October opening.
Financial details haven't been made public. But patrons could pay for spaces within two to five blocks of the center when they buy tickets for any of the center's three performance halls.
The deal would temporarily provide the center with parking that has been discussed for more than a decade. Authority members have signed the agreement, but center officials have not.
The county school board, Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation control some of the proposed locations. None has formally agreed to arts center parking use.
"The Miami Performing Arts Center is extremely excited to have achieved a memorandum of understanding with the Miami Parking Authority," Jarret Haynes, chief operating officer for the center, said Tuesday. "We are confident that a partnership with the Miami Parking Authority's extensive experience in parking management and operations will provide the arts center with comprehensive parking solutions that will, in turn, ensure an enjoyable experience for our patrons."
"We are trying to serve what's in the best interest of the community," authority Executive Director Arthur Noriega said Tuesday, "and that's to work with the performing arts center to make their customer base happy with the overall experience of visiting there.
"In line with that, parking is a critical factor. Unfortunately, they're in a bad spot in that they don't have an immediate, substantial parking solution, and we're doing our best to help them solve their problem. We will be an ally, but we can't be their savior."
A number of steps remain as a memorandum of understanding awaits approval of Miami Performing Arts Center operators for the Miami Parking Authority to provide parking by opening night in October.
In a March 1 memo to his board of directors, Arthur Noriega, executive director of the Miami Parking Authority, said officials of the authority and the center have "continued discussions formalizing an agreement for the Miami Parking Authority to manage parking at the Miami Performing Arts Center."
"A memorandum of understanding has been drafted to document the nature and scope of such a future agreement" to explore a partnership between the authority and the center to manage and operate parking, he wrote.
All authority board members expressed concern last week before the authority signed off on the deal.
"When it comes to the cars and the limos coming to the center and people arriving for black-tie events, they could blame us if they can't find parking," Marlon Hill said when the plan was introduced.
On the other side, the arts center's chief operating officer hailed the proposal to provide parking until the center can find permanent parking sites close to the three performance halls.
"Together, we are working on finalizing an interim short-term parking plan," said Jarret Haynes. "As part of this agreement, Miami Performing Art Center patrons will have the option to park at one of the many lots managed by the Miami Parking Authority that are within two to five blocks of the center.
"In addition, patrons will be able to purchase their spaces through the art center box office whenever they purchase tickets to a show," Mr. Haynes said. "We will continue working closely with the Miami Parking Authority in the next months to formalize an operations agreement, at which point we would be happy to share additional details."
Main points in Mr. Noreiga's memo to his board:
nThe authority will provide parking management and consulting skills for the Miami Performing Arts Center on an ongoing basis.
nThe authority will attempt to secure and operate mutually-agreed-upon parking lots, garages and land currently controlled by the Miami-Dade School Board within two to five blocks of the Performing Arts Center; Florida Department of Transportation-managed surface lots beneath Interstate 395, to the south and west of the arts center; and parcels of land owned by Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation that currently is the construction staging area for the center.
nThe authority will provide trained managers, supervisors and personnel to manage area parking resources to meet parking demands and exceed the level of service expectations of art center patrons.
nThe authority will meet regularly with arts center management to determine parking needs and staffing levels of upcoming events.
The memorandum of understanding will take effect when officials from the arts center sign it. Parking authority board members signed during the March 1 meeting.
The Miami Parking Authority was created in 1955 by the Florida Legislature and was written into the city's charter in 1968. The authority leases out and operates more than 22,000 parking spaces throughout the city.