A tiny update: Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen told attorneys involved in the case filed by auto dealer Norman Braman on Thursday that she plans to rule next week on whether a ballpark for the Marlins serves a “paramount public purpose.”
That’s the count the Marlins, Miami-Dade County and city of Miami are most concerned about because it determines whether public money can be put toward the stadium. The $515 million ballpark planned for the site of the former Orange Bowl relies on $360 million in public dollars derived from tourist tax dollars and a $50 million general obligation bond voters approved to renovate the OB, but since moved to the ballpark project.
The Marlins hope to break ground for the new ballpark by year’s end so they can open the new venue by 2011 – a date that’s looking increasingly unlikely. Cohen also must rule on whether part of the financing going to $3 billion worth of Miami projects must be subject to a public vote. The Marlins, county and city believe if Cohen rules in favor of a referendum, the ballpark would be exempt from a public vote, but Braman disagrees.