I disagree with former Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer’s letter to the Miami Herald stating his opposition to the convention center hotel.
Dermer talks about traffic, yet it was under his leadership that an opportunity to enhance public transportation through Baylink was quashed. Coincidentally, today’s top issue among residents is the desire to see a well-thought-out Baylink system to better connect residents and visitors throughout the Beach corridor. Today’s proposed transit plan for Miami Beach calls for the rail system to connect the convention center area with different parts of the city.
Dermer also states he is against the business model that will elevate the new convention center to position itself to attract major conventions and programming that keeps visitors in and around the convention center and hotel.
I spent a great deal of time with tourism and convention leaders who showed me quantifiable data that an adjacent hotel is the missing piece to attain the convention center model that produces the results we all want. By attracting conventions that keep visitors in the hotel area, we are, without a doubt, alleviating traffic, as those visitors will patronize area restaurants and other destinations within walking distance.
Miami Beach residents have heard directly from proponents of the convention center hotel, and the facts are clear: The hotel project has zero costs to taxpayers while producing dependable tax revenue for the city to invest in critical services for our community. We also know the project has the support of labor leaders because it will generate good-paying job opportunities for area residents.
I voted Yes because this is the right deal for Miami Beach. On Tuesday, let’s finish the job and celebrate a point of civic pride and an economic engine for Miami Beach.
Philip Levine, mayor,