Museums awaiting bond funds, Miami master plan before working on move
By Suzy Valentine
The three future tenants of Museum Park say the Miami city officials needs to complete a master plan for the land and Miami-Dade County officials must schedule release of bond funds before they can move on their projects.
The Miami Art Museum, Miami Museum of Science & Planetarium and Historical Museum of Southern Florida are slated to move into Museum Park, a project planned for Bicentennial Park.
The city has appointed Cooper Robertson to compose its master plan.
"We need definitive dates on the planning process by the city," said Ivette Diaz, publicist for the historical museum, which is to share space with the science museum.
"We will take 25,000 square feet in its space, which will supplement the 40,000 square feet we have downtown," Ms. Diaz said. "The Museum of Science is taking the lead in that part of the project, and we're in the process of developing marketing and promotional plans."
"The key issue is getting the negotiations completed," said Gillian Thomas, science museum president. "We can't do any more appointing until that point. We already have a team installed here, and project management is my area of expertise. We're still waiting for the city to complete its master plan."
"It's an extraordinarily complex and interconnected project," said Suzanne Delehanty, director of the Miami Art Museum. "You have private non-profits in partnership with the city, which owns the land, and the major funder is the county."
"We are still waiting for the county to provide us certainty over the schedule for release of the bond-issue funds," Ms. Thomas said. "We can't do any more accurate planning until then. The funds are subject to inflation, so the longer the county leaves it, the less the money will be worth.
"We have the building planning done, and we're waiting for the final go-ahead. Then the architectural selection can be made."
The county commission this week was to review a Carlos Gimenez-sponsored proposal directing County Manager George Burgess to provide a schedule within 60 days for release of the bond funds.
The science museum is targeted for $150 million.
The $25 million targeted for the historical museum is earmarked for construction costs. Museum officials aim to raise a further $15 million - $10 million to operate the facility and $5 million for the construction and maintenance of exhibitions.
Art museum officials are committed to raising $75 million toward construction and $25 million for operating costs to match the $100 million it has been promised as part of the bond issue.
"The Miami Art Museum and the Museum of Science & Planetarium are just two of 50 recipients in the bond issue," said Ms. Delehanty, "so we can't be certain where we'll be placed in terms of priority.
"Cooper Robertson, which is overseeing the city's master plan, has a good team of landscape architects scheduled to start in March," she said. "The city is seeking a lot of public input and discussions, and there should be a 12-month consultation process. At Miami Art Museum, we will name a project manager in a week or so. We're working on a detailed plan ourselves."
The art museum is to take up 125,000 to 150,000 square feet in the park and to move completely from its downtown location. The county museum building it occupies is in good shape, Ms. Delehanty said, so could be put to good use.
"We're not moving our administrative offices, so this will enable us to bring out more of our collection," said Ms. Diaz. "We will encourage people to do research in the downtown museum, that and provide additional exhibition space."
She said the historical museum's president, Bob McCammon, would assume project management responsibilities.