Adrienne Arsht arts center 'on solid financial footing'
By Lou Ortiz
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami-Dade County is "on solid financial footing," says County Mayor Carlos Alvarez in highlights of his State of the County address.
The changes made at the center in 2007, from the hiring of interim president and CEO Lawrence J. Wilker to the $30 million donation by Adrienne Arsht, will position "it to be one of the greatest performing arts centers in the world," the report says.
How county government and its services fared in 2007 will be part of Mr. Alvarez's county address set for 10 a.m. Feb. 20 at Milander Auditorium, 4800 Palm Ave., Hialeah.
The assessment includes the areas of recreation and culture.
The center is making strides in turning its finances around, but some problems still remain.
The center's trust chairman, Ricky Arriola, said last month that the facility would not ask the county for more money. In June 2007, the county bailed out the center with a $4.1 million cash infusion.
The mayor's address states: "In 2007, the PAC entertained more than 400,000 guests, with the Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and Broadway Across America enjoying record attendance."
At the Miami Art Museum, the facility marked its 10th anniversary with the donation of more than a dozen works of art valued at over $8 million. One included a sculpture by pioneering modernist Fernand Leger, which was ranked third out of 100 artworks donated or sold in the US in 2007 by Art and Antiques Magazine, the report said.
The Historical Museum of Southern Florida saw more than 100,000 residents and visitors last year, and attendance at Deering Estate Cutler was up 57%, the report said.
Miami's MetroZoo has also made strides, according to the mayor's report, returning "to its pre-Hurricane Andrew attendance numbers in 2007." More than 632,000 people visited the zoo in fiscal 2006-2007.
The mayor address also looks to this year when construction is set to begin on the expansion of the Lyric Theater in Overtown.
For library patrons, three new facilities opened in 2007 in Opa-locka, Sunset Drive and Golden Glades. Five libraries are scheduled to open this year in Naranja, International Mall, Kendale Lakes, Pinecrest and in Coconut Grove's Elizabeth Virrick Park.
"To increase convenience, all Miami-Dade libraries are being retrofitted with self-checkout machines," the report said. "More than 19 branches already have the time-saving units installed. By summer, all libraries will have the equipment, making it easier and faster to check out materials."
The mayor's address says that fiscal 2006-2007 "was the most productive capital development year in the history of Miami-Dade Park and Recreation."
More than $57 million was invested in park improvements, including a dog-friendly park at East Greynolds Park in northeast Miami-Dade and a new pool and cabana at Larry & Penny Thompson Park in the southwest part of the county.