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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami Marine Stadium restoration on table

Miami Marine Stadium restoration on table

Written by on November 15, 2016
Miami Marine Stadium restoration on table

Weathered and worn, Miami Marine Stadium begs for a rebirth.

The City of Miami’s elected officials have affection for the aging concrete monolith on Virginia Key and each supports its restoration.

But deciding how to pay for the expensive salvage operation, and how the historic stadium would be used, have been major stumbling blocks.

The city shuttered the waterfront venue in 1992 in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. For nearly 25 years the stadium has remained closed, gathering grime and graffiti.

At a meeting today (11/17), city commissioners are to discuss a $45 million bond proposal to borrow money to fund stadium renovation and improvements, among other work on the barrier island, most of which is owned by the city.

The resolution, prepared by the Office of Management and Budget, declares the official intent of the City of Miami to issue $45 million in tax exempt and taxable special obligation bonds to reimburse itself from the proceeds for city funds advanced for expenses incurred with capital improvement projects at the Miami Marine Stadium and the associated Welcome Center and Museum Complex.

In a background memo on the proposal, City Manager Daniel Alfonso notes the long-held desire of city leaders to restore the iconic stadium.

Mr. Alfonso said his staff  has prepared a preliminary scope of work and cost estimate including renovating the form, materials, features and character of the stadium as it appeared in its original likeness during the 1960s; potential removal of inconsistent or unsafe structural features; structural repairs or replacement of the upper-structure and substructure; incorporation of new electrical, mechanical, lighting, sound and plumbing systems; Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility; restoration or replacement of the seating; removal of asbestos as necessary, and construction of a Welcome Center and Museum.

“We are requesting approval to begin the process of issuing a Non-Ad Valorem Special Obligation Bond (or similar financing mechanism) including both taxable and tax exempt financing as appropriate, in the amount not to exceed $45 million,” wrote Mr. Alfonso.

“Staff would expect the bond to have a repayment schedule of 15 to 20 years and pledge funds from any available Non-Ad Valorem sources (such as the Local Government Half-cent Sales Tax Program) with a covenant to budget and appropriate to repay the debt service from the General Fund,” according to the city manager.

City commissioners may also discuss a staff analysis of all revenues and expenses on Virginia Key.

The new Virginia Key Advisory Board recently recommended the $45 million bond proposal and requested that plans to spend those funds for restoration of the stadium and the development of the surrounding areas be brought before the advisory board for recommendations by it and the public.

3 Responses to Miami Marine Stadium restoration on table

  1. DC Copeland

    November 16, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Hopefully the restoration includes the city’s embracing the return of powerboat racing since that’s the main reason the stadium was built in the first place. My fear is that that is the last thing on the minds of those now in charge. If it does include powerboat racing, efforts should be taken to insure the opening of the new and “better” stadium includes the first and last races of the Unlimited Hydroplane circuit. That will bring immediate worldwide attention to Miami with the usual media attention the races get. Also, someone in the city should try to get Red Bull to bring its air races here. Flying over the water with the backdrop of the Miami skyline would look muy impressive. Heck, why not also see if Red Bull might be interested in naming rights for the stadium?

  2. Steve Garey

    November 16, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    I agree with DC Copeland. There has been no mention of powerboat racing returning to the restored stadium. How come? That is what it was built for in the first place.

  3. Fred Moore

    November 20, 2016 at 9:03 am

    There’s much of my former life involved with the Miami Marine Stadium. I attended several power boat races there, saw Richard Nixon, Sammy Davis Jr. and Pink Floyd there the night Nixon accepted the Republican presidential nomination, and have anchored several sailing vessels there over the years, occasionally for several days.

    I worked at the Seaquarium for a couple of years and memories of the stadium and the U. of M. Marine Lab will remain forever in my memory.

    I now live far away in Montana, but my heart shall always remain in Miami. I would love to see the place returned to its former condition, with power boat races also being started again.