As one of the last surviving members of the 1983 County Commission that amended the original 1971 lease to the Fairgrounds, I thought it might be helpful to recall the circumstances at that time in order to further inform the ongoing process of negotiation between the parties.
Florida International University was still in its embryonic stage, and no one at that time would have predicted that it would become one of the nation’s largest public universities with enormous ripple effects of economic and intellectual benefits.
The Youth Fair was quite intentionally placed out in what was then the “boondocks” on unused county-owned lands, away from urban development, preventing traffic congestion and urban overload. Through the years the fair has become an important and wonderful annual community event, providing a showcase for science and agriculture and enjoyed once a year by thousands.
Hindsight is always 20-20, but had we known then what we know now, I believe that we would have provided for FIU’s needed expansion without imposing the somewhat burdensome conditions grafted into the lease.
That reality should be a guiding factor in the process currently under way to find a realistic and cost-effective solution to this challenge. That process should be guided by an honest appraisal of what is really in the best interest and in line with what will provide the greater good for South Florida.
Harvey Ruvin, Miami