After reading a short story in Miami Today about Miami Marine stadium, I am now convinced that a major reason that the city is fighting to have the Miami International Boat Show, on the fragile piece of land, is so that they can have the Boat Show renovate the property around the stadium and after the boat show, the property will be completed and available for whatever else comes along, they call it a "flex park." The boat show people, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, have already turned into bullies, acting like they own the stadium themselves.
Nothing can be simple in Miami, you can't just have the stadium be what it was for all those years - a stadium with shows and an audience. No, it's got to be some mega something or other that is too over-sized for the neighborhood, which in this case is a fragile island. Just recently a bunch of mangroves were destroyed while the site was being prepared for the boat show.
I don't think the boat show would have ever been considered for the stadium 20 or 30 years ago when there were far less homes and traffic in the area, so I'm not sure why it's being considered now other than to be used as the catalyst for something bigger. What next, a condo? A hotel next door? Many people still resent the tennis tournament taking over part of Key Biscayne with all the traffic and congestion it brings.
I was in favor of the boat show at first, but after seeing all the shenanigans that come along with it, I'm not in favor of it being on Virginia Key anymore.
Commissioner Marc Sarnoff says that we should see what businesses come up with as ideas for stadium use. Is he kidding? It should be used as a stadium. Period. Let it be what it is, an outdoor stadium for shows. The latest complaint from Key Biscayne is about the proposed water taxi service, which the boat show people feel is the answer to traffic congestion. It sounded cool when first suggested. But residents feel it will have a negative impact on the environment. Boat Show Director Cathy Rick-Joule from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, says they will work it out. You can see that story in The Islander News.
All this mess with the Marine Stadium has me fearing the future of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, where they will turn an historic playhouse into something more monstrous, like condos, shopping and a parking garage if we look the other way for a second.
Tom Falco is editor of the daily Coconut Grove Grapevine.