The proposal for the Virginia Key Harbour and Marine Center by RCI Group differs significantly from the Virginia Key Master Plan approved unanimously by the Miami City Commission in 2010.
The proposal includes a new in basin wet slip marina, primarily for 50 foot yachts, within the pristine Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin, thereby inhibiting recreational use of the Marine Basin and the Marine Stadium itself.
The proposal should be rejected by the Miami City Commission for the following reasons:
The Marine Stadium basin has become a prime area for recreational watersports such as rowing, dragon boating, stand up paddle boarding, and world class athletic events such as triathlons and long distance swimming competitions. “Motorizing” 800 feet of the basin by adding the marina significantly compromises these activities.
The in basin marina will also negatively impact a restored Marine Stadium. It will eliminate the possibility of bringing back major boat racing, the reason the stadium was originally created, and will hinder other water-based events.
Also, it will impact the economic feasibility of the Marine Stadium by making it more difficult to close off the venue for paying, water craft customers.
Finally, an in basin marina could deprive the Marine Stadium of $6 million in financing through the sale of historic tax credits. In order to sell tax credits, both the Marine Stadium and basin must be placed on the Federal Register of Historic Places.
There is a solution: the expanded marina can be placed outside of the basin, as defined in the Virginia Key Master Plan.
While much of Miami’s waterfront seems to be reserved for the wealthy, the remarkable Marine Stadium basin should remain as the “people’s waterfront” — a natural area to be utilized and enjoyed by everyone.