Not too long ago — about 25 years — stores on Lincoln Road were boarded up, hotels on Ocean Drive were shuttered and the Miami Beach Convention Center was vacant. It was a different town, somber to say the least.
The only industry we have in Miami Beach is tourism. Travelers to Miami Beach pay for our city services, from police and fire, keeping our streets clean and landscaped, to parks and playgrounds. Without these dollars, we would be living in a completely different environment.
Investing in building a new convention center is critical to our future. The passage of the ballot question as to whether the city should have a hotel attached to the convention center should be a resounding Yes.
And here is why. The hotel will be funded privately without residents contributing one penny. It will bring in millions in lease payments and taxes to our city. A slice of this money will go towards fixing flooding, better transportation and education for our kids.
Finally, the convention center and headquarter hotel will attract national and international events that will actually decrease traffic and parking needs as these folks will be walking to and from the hotel and won’t have to drive cars to the site. Cities across America make multimillion dollar contributions to get a beautiful convention center and magnificent hotel built.
We should applaud Miami Beach government for hammering out the best deal that the city has made in its 100 year history.
We’ve been working with Art Basel from its inception 15 years ago and know firsthand how the convention center business works.
We now anxiously look forward to seeing this great new project completed.
We encourage the Miami Beach voters to vote Yes on March 15.
Bob Goodman, Florida representative, Art Basel, Miami Beach
Norman Braman, chairman, Host Committee, Art Basel, Miami Beach