During the early part of the last decade, a professional sports team came to us requesting that we turn over Bicentennial Park (now Museum Park) to build a baseball stadium. We refused to hand over one of the few remaining public waterfront locations to them because we wanted to safeguard public access to Biscayne Bay.
We now are shocked to hear that another professional sports team wants to build a soccer stadium on the same waterfront. A sports stadium no more belongs on the scarce waterfront today than it did in 2000.
With thousands of new urban dwellers and thousands more on the way, the need for green space has never been greater. There is no reason that Miami, a city graced with unrivaled natural beauty, should not also be graced with great civic and green spaces, with public parks, plazas and museums.
Great cities, large and small, are all embracing the opportunity to enhance the public realm by creating the zones, spaces and buildings that foster pride, areas equally owned by the people, irrespective of economic or social circumstance.
Through the efforts of many, we are creating an unrivaled public space, with museums, an opera house, a symphony hall and a beautiful park all set against the background of the beautiful vista that is Biscayne Bay. This work must continue.
We have done this because we owe a lasting legacy to those who will call Miami home long after we have gone. Miami has become one of the world’s leading urban centers, fulfilling its long awaited destiny.
This is our gift to the future. Let us not purge this gift by building a stadium where it does not belong. Let us keep the waterfront in public hands.
Manny Diaz, former mayor, and Johnny Winton, Joe Sanchez, Angel Gonzalez, former commissioners, Miami