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Five years ago, David Beckham said he wanted to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami. Last week he expected to cross a major item off his to-do list – acquiring land for a brand new stadium.
Die-hard soccer fans are desperate for an MLS team after years of false starts, and showed up for a big hype party before the vote. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who’s been a big proponent of the plan, wants some progress on the deal ASAP.
That’s not what happened. Here’s where it all stands.
He’s also pitched multiple locations for a stadium over the years, including a site in Overtown (his group still owns that property, but it doesn’t work for what they have planned). The latest choice is the city-owned Melreese Country Club, near the airport.
The owners hope to start playing in 2020 and to have their stadium built by 2021.
The latest stadium plan includes public soccer fields, a park, a hotel, retail and office space, and the stadium itself.
SO WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH MELREESE? The tricky thing about Melreese is that it’s city owned, and when a private company wants to develop city property, there has to be a bidding process so private entities can pitch their own ideas for how to use it. The Beckham group wants the city to skip that step, let them buy the property, and then build the stadium.
That’s what the city is deciding on next week – whether to put a waiver of the competitive bidding requirement on the November ballot.
WHY IS THIS SO CONTROVERSIAL?
Depends on who you ask.
WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP BRINGING UP MARLINS PARK? Because it was the last time Miami officials decided on a big new stadium project. City of Miami and Miami-Dade commissioners approved a deal that used public funds to build the new stadium, and promises of development around the stadium and new jobs haven’t quite come through. Beckham’s group is planning to fully finance the construction, so it’s not really the same deal.
WHAT’S NEXT? Commissioners will meet for a special session on Wednesday morning to decide whether to change the city charter and whether to send that change to voters in November.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: Because the item was deferred on Thursday, the discussion will pick up where it left off, after the public comment period. If you’ve got thoughts, we recommend sharing them with your commissioner or tagging them on social media.
IF THEY VOTE ‘YES’… Voters will still have to approve the no-bid deal on the November ballot. If voters say yes, then at least four of the city commissioners will have to approve a lease for the stadium project.
IF THEY VOTE ‘NO’… Beckham’s group will have until Aug. 7 to change the commission’s mind and get it on the ballot.
🌞 Catalyst Miami is recruiting folks for a couple paid focus groups on an upcoming renewable energy campaign in Miami-Dade County. Participants will be paid $40 for two hours of their time and be served dinner, plus they’ll learn a little something about sustainability while they’re at it. The focus groups are July 17 and July 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (you only have to go to one), at Catalyst Miami at 3000 Biscayne Boulevard. If you’re in, you’ve gotta RSVP to Zelalem Adefris at [email protected].
Got an opportunity, workshop, scholarship, grant, etc. you want other curious locals to know about? Hit us up at [email protected] to have it listed here.
If you build it, they will tear it down. Given all the hype about the latest soccer stadium plan, the Herald took a look at SoFlo’s stadium history, including the Miami Arena, where the Heat and Panthers used to play. They went all the way back to the Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium, which played host to the Miami Sun Sox and also a minor-league version of the Miami Marlins (who played there in the 1950s). (Miami Herald)
Blame it on the Jet Skis? Starting July 23, the MacArthur Causeway is gonna be a bit jammed up for people heading west. The reason? Construction to replace concrete on the bridge and to fix corroding beams and columns underneath. According to a city engineer, salt water shooting up from jet skis and similar personal watercraft have damaged all that over time. And after engineers are done with the westbound side, then they’ll shut down lanes on the eastbound side of the bridge. (Miami Herald)
In other Jet Ski news. The City of Miami probably should’ve taken a closer look at some new signs they placed (then removed) at Dinner Key Marina and Watson Island last week. The signs, which read “NO JET SKI’S ALLOWED STRCTLY ENFORCED TOW AWAY ZONE,” were meant to keep companies from doing their own Jet Ski rentals near city boat ramps, but they don’t exactly specify that. Also, they contained a few typos. One day after the New Times asked about the signs, they were gone. (Miami New Times)
Maybe we’re too fancy. Miami was at the forefront of parking apps back in 2008, when Pay by Phone burst on the scene. The app, and ones from similar companies, store a credit card and allow you to just punch a code in to pay for your spot. But critics have questions about how the Miami Parking Authority uses the data we basically hand over by paying to park, and they also wonder how many people are being shut out from parking completely because they don’t have access to a smartphone or a credit card. (WLRN)
It’s their world now. The iguana population is more than just a nuisance. There are now so many of them crawling all over the 305 that experts warn they becoming a major threat to infrastructure. They’re delaying plane takeoffs, damaging roads, and taking over people’s backyards to the point where homeowners are worried they reptiles will hurt their property values. That’s why folks like Brian Wood are working hard to trap the invasive lizards (His secret? Lure ‘em in with strawberries). (Miami Herald)
🏢 It’s all about Advantage Miami. One Community One Goal’s Report to the Community hits it out of the park on July 25th from 7:45am to 11:00am at Marlins Park.
🎶Wednesday: Groove to some jazz at the Yard (Wynwood)
🍛Thursday: Try all the healthy, delicious noms at Jackson Hall (Allapattah)
🎥 Friday: Travel to Congo with the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)
🎥 Saturday: Catch Krush Groove, based on the origin story of Def Jam Records, with the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)
🗣Thursday July 26: Ask a dietician all your questions about sugar (Allapattah)
♣️ Start your week off with some poker (South Beach)
🎞 Catch this Sundance Film Festival hit – through July 19 (Little Havana)
🎞 Catch Lucia, a Cuban film classic (Coral Gables)
🎨 Get your fingers dirty at this paint night (Wynwood)
👮 Learn about LGBTQ hate crimes and counterterrorism from a former FBI agent (South Beach)
🐢Watch sea turtle hatchlings be released into the wild (Haulover Beach)
😋Try all the food truck noms (North Bay Village)
🎤Catch an open mic night (Allapattah)
🗳Hear from the D-27 Democratic candidates (Coconut Grove)
🌃Jam around a rooftop pool (Downtown)
🌊Talk climate change, Miami, and voting (South Beach)
🇨🇴Celebrate Colombian independence with a massive party (Wynwood)
🌌Explore the galaxy with Frost Science (Downtown)
🎸Celebrate 15 years of PALO! (Little Havana)
☕Talk intention at Creative Mornings with the owner of Loba (Downtown)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag @thenewtropic on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with a New Tropic membership.
We’ll see ya tomorrow. ✌
– The New Tropic
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