Um Indecision On Ob Stalls Ballpark Planning
Written by Risa Polansky on August 16, 2007
By Risa Polansky
While the Florida Marlins still have their eye on downtown as the ideal locale for a new stadium, the University of Miami’s indecision over whether to stay in the Orange Bowl is stalling arrangements to move the Marlins into a Miami home, says Ian Yorty, who handles baseball negotiations for Miami-Dade County along with the county manager.
If the university chooses to leave its longtime home in favor of a move to Dolphin Stadium, "all of a sudden there would be a good site immediately available to start analyzing" as a potential new place for the Marlins, Mr. Yorty said.
"The clock keeps ticking," Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez said.
The Hurricanes’ Orange Bowl lease is up in 2009 but they could leave before then, according to the manager’s office.
University officials have refused to commit to a plan, but the board of trustees is to take up the issue next week.
Major League Baseball is "willing," Mr. Hernandez said, to bring the Marlins to the Orange Bowl should the university choose to leave.
The Marlins have no comment on the Orange Bowl or stadium issue as a whole, said P.J. Loyello, the team’s senior vice president of communications.
But Mr. Yorty said "they recognize that it is a viable site," although downtown would be "much preferable."
After resistance from some county and city officials to building a stadium on nine government-owned acres on Northwest Third Street, which would disrupt other area projects such as a juvenile justice center and police training facility, it is difficult to "find a site that is publicly owned or very affordable downtown," Mr. Yorty said.
No other downtown sites are under consideration, he said, and the Orange Bowl still fits the Marlins’ desired bill of "an urban ballpark setting."