From the start, it was the Cuban-born Muxo who spearheaded Homesteads efforts to build a monument to Americas favorite pastime: a baseball stadium.
Before the ballpark was even finished, the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago Cubs, the Boston Red Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles all were eyeballing the location.
We, the city, had finally arrived to where we felt we had something substantial, said Ruth Campbell, vice mayor of the Homestead at the time. And it was pretty.
The salmon-pink, multi-story stadium was one of the tallest buildings around. It had a thick carpet of green grass and coveted sky boxes overlooking the whole thing.
The buzz word was awesome. It was just a very magnificent facility, DeMilly recalled. The colors were bright and very tropical. Though the grand opening was held Aug. 20 almost a year to the day before Andrew would strike the real celebration had occurred a day earlier, when the Cleveland Indians signed a two-year deal, with two additional 10-year options, to move their spring training to Homestead. The famously unlucky team would make Homestead its home starting in spring 1993.
To... demonstrate that the small community of Homestead could build something that was world class and actually attract a major franchise such as the Cleveland Indians was something to brag about, said DeMilly, the former mayor.
Homesteads stadium was poised to become something big, something major league until Andrew changed everything.
The hurricane struck with 165-mph winds. It killed 26 people directly, another 39 indirectly, and left 180,000 people homeless and 1.4 million without power.
In Homestead, where the southern eyewall tore a path, it leveled 80 percent of the housing stock. Robbed the city of its fledgling downtown. Blew away the beginnings of a new Miami Dade College campus, tossed around fighter jets and irreparably smashed the Homestead Air Base.
The nations eyes were on Homestead. The town that had hoped baseball would pull it out of obscurity was well-known now for all the wrong reasons.
And the stadium was wrecked. The once-pristine fields: shredded. The bright lights and the scoreboard: gone. And the plush sky boxes: covered in glass from shattered windows.
The building was here, but it looked more like a ghost, said Campbell, the former vice mayor.
For a while, the National Guard moved in, leading recovery efforts from the leaky stadium. While so many factors after the storm seemed uncertain where would the homeless sleep? how would the city pay for the recovery? one thing always seemed sure: Homestead would rebuild its ball park.
I think it was a given. The question would have been, would we have it rebuilt in time for spring training and to be able to honor our contract with the Cleveland Indians? DeMilly said.
The city poured its energy and $6.4 million in insurance money into rebuilding the stadium in a mere five months. Cleveland had a contract. Homestead city leaders were determined to honor it.
Inside the stadium, it was as though Hurricane Andrew had been nothing but a bad dream from which the city had finally woken up. Everything was normal again.
Just beyond the stadium, though, the nightmare was relived every day. Residents were still stuck in tents. Homes remained mangled. The city was still staggering from the blow.