While a decision on the location of a new stadium for the Marlins is far from being made, don’t be surprised if the newest idea – a downtown site just north of the Miami-Dade County government center – ends up the preferred choice.
The location is publicly owned by Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami, which would significantly reduce the cost of a ballpark; is adjacent to Metrorail and Metromover and not far from I-95; and there is ample parking nearby.
Several county commissioners were open to the idea of the site Tuesday, but said they want to ensure the county finds a good location for the Children’s Courthouse for juvenile and dependency cases that is slated for the area, and that taxpayers don’t end up being unduly burdened with the cost of a ballpark.
“I love it. It’s got great potential,” said County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, who as the the former Miami city manager is quite familiar with the ballpark project. Gimenez loves that the property is publicly owned and so close to Metrorail. “I think it can work … It was right under our nose all along.”
It appears that Major League Baseball’s interest in an area south of Miami Arena may have spurred county officials to begin exploring whether other downtown spots might be viable.
While Commissioner Katy Sorenson continues to oppose public funding of sports venues and Commissioner Natacha Seijas said she has questions about the new site, other commissioners, including Sally Heyman, Bruno Barreiro, Javier Souto and Rebeca Sosa, said they were open to the idea, if a suitable location can be found for the Children’s Courthouse.
“I think it’s a good location as long as we can take care of the children’s court,” Barreiro said.
It’s too early, county and city officials say, to talk financial terms for the site, but it’s pretty clear the county, city, and Marlins will all have to participate and all of them hope the state will finally contribute. Miami Mayor Manny Diaz supports bringing a stadium to downtown to help round out what he says is becoming an increasingly dynamic area with condos, restaurants and the recently opened Carnival Center for the Performing Arts.
The county has not abandoned discussions with the city of Hialeah for a spot in western Hialeah. And talks among representatives of Broward County, the city of Pompano Beach, and the Marlins about potentially locating a ballpark at Pompano Park Harness Track are also ongoing.
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