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Stadium would be a burden on downtown residents

 

After years of waiting for Museum Park to be completed and just before the residents of Miami can begin enjoying their beautiful waterfront park, we read that county and city officials are suggesting that the proposed soccer stadium be built on it.

Is it in the best interest of Miamians to replace a beautiful park and waterfront promenade with a massive stadium? Will it improve our quality of life to replace much needed green space with steel and cement? Why the need to land-fill the FEC slip and rob Miami residents of their newly improved waterfront park?

We are thrilled that David Beckham has chosen our beautiful and vibrant city as the home for his soccer team, but building the proposed soccer stadium along Biscayne Boulevard will add parking demands, traffic and noise congestion to an area that is barely able to manage the needs of the AmericanAirlines Arena, the Arsht Center, PAMM and, soon, the Frost Science Museum.

Those of us who make downtown Miami our home understand the realities of living in the urban core of a growing city. We accept, and many of us embrace, the development of downtown Miami and welcome replacing empty lots and unused buildings with residential towers, world-class hotels and shopping areas. We know we will be in the middle of a construction zone for years to come as development of the Genting project and the Miami World Center get under way. We are aware of the need to expand and reconfigure I-395 to better accommodate the needs of Miami’s urban growth.

However, most of us are struggling to accept the use of preciously scant waterfront public space to house a soccer stadium, irrespective of how beautiful or interesting its architecture may be.

Miami has many impoverished and disadvantaged neighborhoods that could greatly benefit from development and investment. These areas would welcome infrastructure improvements, job creation and tourism dollars. Why continue to invest in an area that is already receiving a disproportionate amount of investment and development money? Soccer fans will attend games irrespective of where the stadium is placed and, in fact, will be more likely to go to the stadium if it is located in an area that is easily accessible and has ample parking.

Downtown Miami residents hope and expect that commissioners will stand on our side and work with the Beckham group to find a more suitable site for the stadium.

Dalia Lagoa, Downtown Neighborhood Alliance, Miami

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