OB money likely to go to new use
By Risa Polansky
Funding in place for renovation of the Orange Bowl may be up for grabs after the University of Miami's decision last week to leave its football team's longtime home for Dolphin Stadium.
Miami-Dade County voters in 2004 approved a $2.9 billion bond program that included a $50 million to upgrade the Orange Bowl.
Now that a renovation appears unlikely, county and Miami city officials may choose to reallocate the funds.
"We don't know if and how that money is going to be reallocated," said Rafael Diaz, head of the transactional division in the city attorney's office.
The city has reallocated bond money from one project to another so long as the alternate use was "in the purview of the (bond) program," he said.
However, Mr. Diaz said, the attorney's office has yet to receive direction from the administration.
Redistributing the funds most likely would require a vote by the city commission, he said.
County spokeswoman Paula Musto said a county commission OK would also be needed.
Another $37.2 million in city money — $23.9 million in convention development taxes and $13.3 million from the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority — was identified for the Orange Bowl project. That, too, may be diverted.
The UM move has created a buzz about building a new home for the Florida Marlins on the Orange Bowl site. But commissioners are receiving alternate suggestions from residents regarding how the funds could best be spent.
Taffy Gould of the Miami Science Museum's executive committee said the city should seize the opportunity to fund a revamp of Bicentennial Park.
While the science museum, along with the Miami Art Museum, is planning a move there, the city has yet to identify funds to improve the park.
"Whatever it takes, I think the money should be allocated immediately," she said.