says downtown Miami ballpark must go in Bicentennial Park
study commissioned by the Downtown Development Authority has found
that Bicentennial Park is the only downtown Miami location suitable
for a baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins.
authority, assigned to redevelop the downtown area, oversaw the
study for the Miami City Commission to determine the feasibility
of building a baseball stadium downtown, said Patti Allen, authority
presentation on the findings was made last week at a Bicentennial
Park Waterfront Renewal Committee meeting.
authority hired Andrew Dolkart, president of Miami Economics Associates,
to perform the study. The city could not say this week how much
it paid for the stud!-- font>
Dolkart said the 33-acre Bicentennial Park is where the stadium
first reason is that it's the only site in downtown Miami it fits
on," he said. "We thought of Park West. But now the NAP
of the Americas" or Network Access Point, an Internet
data relay station to be built adjacent to the Miami Arena
"will go on one of the blocks that makes up that site."
owner John Henry has also indicated in the past that he prefers
Bicentennial Park for the stadium location.
officials have said at least 12 acres is needed for a ballpark so
that the team would no longer have to share Pro Player Stadium with
the Dolphins football team. That 12-acre proposal does not include
space for parking. The proposed stadium would have a retractable
dome, Marlins executives have said.
spring, the Marlins organization backed a proposal to finance the
stadium by taxing cruise passengers at the Port of Miami. The bill
flopped after opposition from the cruise industry and the Greater
Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, among others.
reasons for building the stadium in Bicentennial Park instead of
the Park West corridor, according to Mr. Dolkart, is that the Park
West corridor is a tax increment redevelopment district. Under state
law, areas that are considered to be blighted may be defined as
redevelopment districts which means they can benefit from
certain tax-increment financing, he said.
a baseball stadium were to be built in Park West the area would
not get the full scope of tax increments, Mr. Dolkart said. A structure
such as a telecom hotel, he said, would be a better resident in
Park West because it would generate more taxes.
we sit here today, with the telecom project, there isn't a site
in Park West the baseball stadium can go on," Mr. Dolkart said.
"The real issue is if you want baseball downtown. If you do,
there's only one place to put it."
Florida Department of Transportation also made a presentation last
week to the Bicentennial Park Waterfront Renewal Committee.
Letzelper, project engineer for the transportation department, said
officials want to keep the public informed of plans to widen Biscayne
Boulevard in front of Bicentennial Park. The road expansion will
subtract a few acres of land from the park.
1990, the state's transportation authority was given the right of
way for nearly 4 acres of the waterfront property for the purpose
of roadway improvement, she said.
call for widening the boulevard from Northeast Fifth to 13th streets.
estimated cost, Ms. Letzelper said, is $7.9 million but no source
of funds has been identified.
we can get the funding," she said, "we could begin as
early as 2002."
expansion would create four each of north- and south- bound lanes,
widen the median, create sidewalks and include new lighting and
signals, Ms. Letzelper said.
from Bayside Marketplace and the Performing Arts Center of Miami-Dade
County supported the road-expansion plan.
Constantz, Bayfront Park Trust executive director, also made a presentation
to the committee, saying that Bicentennial is often rented out for
large events. The park drew more than 50,000 guests for two events
held there so far this year: the Bob Marley Festival in February
and Zeta Fest in July. Another 50,000 or so are expected to visit
the park for a tentative jazz concert and electronic music festival
in November, he said.
addition to the Marlins, Bicentennial Park has become the site of
choice for other local groups looking for a new location including
the Miami Museum of Science and the Miami Art Museum who hope to
build a 365,000 square-foot and 58,000 square-foot complex, respectively.
next Bicentennial Park Waterfront Renewal Committee meeting will
be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 in the City of Miami Commission Chambers
at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.