[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Protect the Freedom Tower

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Protect the Freedom Tower

Next on my blog to-do list was a post on the efforts by a local developer to build a 62-story condominium tower directly behind the Freedom Tower.

Looks like our friends over at Cuban-American Pundits beat me to it.

I would like to add new developments which took place last night, good news for those who don't want the tower to be drawfed by a huge high-rise.

The Miami Planning Advisory Board's vote to endorse the project ended up deadlocked at 3-3, which means a recommendation for denial. This means that the project ends up in the hands of the city commission for the deciding votes.

The Herald article mentions that the Board's past recommendations have been met with mixed results by the city commission, so the battle to save the tower is far from over.

I won't add too much to the good words Songuacassal wrote in his post, other than to agree that it is absolutely imperative that the Freedom Tower be kept as a stand-alone building, with nothing behind it detracting from the view. It is one of the few structures of historical and architectural significance in downtown Miami, and the reasons for protecting it are plenty. As Songuacassal mentioned, the Freedom Tower processed hundreds of thousands of Cuban immigrants back in the 1960s. Most recently, it was the place where thousands paid their respects to the late Celia Cruz. Needless to say, it is an important part of our Cuban-American heritage and a great source of pride for many Miamians.

I sincerely hope that the leaders of the city of Miami take a good hard look at this and think about what the tower means to so many. The development boom going on in downtown Miami is exciting and welcomed, but should not risk demeaning the only true historical landmark we have.

I hope developer Pedro Martin, a Cuban-American himself, can stand back for a second and think about the potential impact. I respect his wishes to turn the tower into a museum to chronicle the Cuban immigrant experience, something that is long overdue. However, do we have to wrap a monstrocity around it to justify its existence?

I know that for all the good intentions Martin may have, the bottom line is $$$, so I won't wait for a change of heart. Besides, there's plenty of land around to build a high-rise condo, so don't feel too bad for Martin if his project gets rejected.


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