Sun Life deal is a win-win

 <span class="cutline_leadin">DOLPHINS</span>: A rendering of proposed changes to Sun Life Stadium, showing partial roof covering.
DOLPHINS: A rendering of proposed changes to Sun Life Stadium, showing partial roof covering.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez arrived at a solid agreement that was ripe for County Commission approval. Now that the Commission has signed off, this will be a win-win for the residents of Miami-Dade County and our state’s first professional sports team.

After intense negotiations, they hammered out a fair, innovative and transparent Performance-Based Grant Agreement that will modernize Sun Life Stadium and ensure that our community attracts marquee events, including Super Bowls, for many years to come.

Under the terms of this unparalleled arrangement, Ross will be exclusively responsible for funding a stadium modernization that will attract major events to Miami-Dade. In turn, Miami-Dade County will provide the stadium with an agreed-upon amount from tourist tax dollars, but only after the major event is held.

The modernization of Sun Life Stadium is sorely needed to attract marquee sports and entertainment events, like Super Bowls, College Football Championships, international soccer matches and big-time concerts. These events pump hundreds of millions of dollars into our local economy, and the construction needed to modernize the stadium will create thousands of jobs and provide millions of dollars for local businesses, with 70 percent of the workers and 35 percent of the subcontractors to come from Miami-Dade County.

This is sure to provide a significant boost to our local economy.

Ross has committed that not one dollar of county money will be used to modernize the stadium.

This, in and of itself, is a major benefit to the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County and is unlike any other major stadium project happening in America today. This innovative agreement will almost certainly serve as a model for future public-private partnerships involving professional sports teams.

The people of Miami-Dade County will receive value before any payments are made, and the county is not obligated to pay marquee-event grants until 2024.

Further, no matter how many marquee events the Dolphins attract to Sun Life Stadium in any one year, the incentive payments are capped at $5 million per year.

And if, for any reason, the county does not have sufficient tourist tax dollars to make a payment, the payment rolls over until the following year, eventually expiring if unpaid after a certain number of years. This provision protects the county in the event of an unexpected downturn in tourism.

The Miami Dolphins is the flagship professional sports franchise in Miami and a positive force for bringing our diverse community together.

Team owner Ross has reaffirmed his commitment to Miami-Dade in a firm and clear fashion with this major private investment and his assurance to keep the team in Miami for the next 30 years, even if the team is sold.

This is what a good stadium deal looks like. That’s why the Miami-Dade County Commission voted to approve the arrangement on Tuesday. It makes all the people of Miami-Dade County winners.

H.T. Smith and Jorge Arrizurieta are co-chairs of the MiamiFirst campaign to modernize Sun Life Stadium.

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald

Tony Lesesne


    Tony Lesesne: Overkill, and an apology

    Yes, it happens in South Florida, too — and it shouldn’t. Black men pulled over, needlessly hassled by police officers who give the rest of their colleagues a bad name, who make no distinction when a suspect has no other description than ‘black male,’ who harass residents because they can. A North Miami Beach officer pulls over a black man in a suit and tie — and behind the wheel of an Audi that simply had to be stolen, right? In another Miami-Dade city, an officer demands that an African-American man installing a vegetable garden justify why he has a shovel and seedlings. Detained for possession of cilantro? Here are five South Floridians who tell of their experiences in this community and beyond, years ago, and all too recently.

Delrish Moss


    Delrish Moss: Out after dark

    “I was walking up Seventh Avenue, just shy of 14th street. I was about 17 and going home from my job. I worked at Biscayne Federal Bank after school. The bank had a kitchen, and I washed the dishes. A police officer gets out of his car. He didn’t say anything. He came up and pushed me against a wall, frisked me, then asked what I was doing walking over here after dark. Then he got into his car and left. I never got a chance to respond. I remember standing there feeling like my dignity had been taken with no explanation. I would have felt better about that incident had I gotten some sort of dialogue. I had not had any encounters with police.


    Bill Diggs: Hurt officer’s feelings

    “I’m the first generation in my family to go to college, and if I wanted to do nothing else, I wanted to make my mom happy. I was living for my parents, I wanted to be that guy, I wanted to go to work and not have to put on steel-toe boots. And here I am in Atlanta, I have finally grown to a particular level of affluence. I wasn’t making a lot of money, but I was a college kid, wearing a suit, driving a nice BMW going to work everyday. Can’t beat that. I would leave my house, drive up Highway 78, the Stone Mountain area, grab some coffee, go to work. So on this particular morning, there’s a cop who’s rustling up this homeless guy outside the gas station where I was filling up. I’m shaking my head, the cop looks at me. This homeless guy is there every morning. I get in my car and on to the expressway. The police officer comes shooting up behind me. I doing 65, 70. He gets up behind me, I notice he’s following me. I get in one lane, he gets in the lane, I get in another lane, he gets in that lane. He finally flips his lights on, he comes up to the car. I’ve been pulled over for speeding before, I know the drill. Got my hands up here, don’t want to get shot, and I think he’s going to say what I’ve heard before: ‘License and registration, please.’ He says ‘Get out of the car!’ and he reaches in and grabs me by my shirt. He says, ‘So you’re a smart ass, huh?’ Finally he says, ‘License and registration.’ I tell him it’s in the car. He says, ‘Get it for me!’ He goes back to his car, comes back and asks, ‘So where did you get the car from?’ I say ‘It’s a friend of mine’s.” He says, ‘Is it stolen? What are you doing driving your friend’s car?’ I finally asked, ‘Is there a reason you stopped me? You followed me, what’s up, man?’ He says, ‘I’m going to let you go with a warning, but if you see me doing what I’ve got to do for my job, don’t you ever f---ing worry about it.”

Miami Herald

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