[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Miami's Megaplan: Pros and Con

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Miami's Megaplan: Pros and Con

I've awakened from my blog hibernation this warm and sultry Sunday morning to post on a good story in today's Herald on the controversial "megaplan" that would bring a new ballpark, museums and port tunnel to Miami's downtown. As I've noted in the past, I am in favor of the plan, so take this post for what's it's worth.

This important and well done story is inexplicably buried at the bottom of the Herald's website. Then again, this IS the Herald we're talking about here.

Three opinions are presented:
- Norman Braman, auto dealership owner and an outspoken critic of the plan
- George Burgess, Miami-Dade County Manager and proponent of the plan.
- Jorge Perez, Chairman of the Related Group and condo developer, also a plan proponent.

Their opinions are linked above, and I will summarize my feelings on each.

Braman main argument is that we can't trust our elected officials and bureaucrats to handle these type of projects without major screw-ups. Braman's right, our local officials have a terrible track record in many areas. His other main point is that the public was never given an opportunity to vote on these issues. On this point he's wrong, which Burgess accurately points out in his opinion.

Burgess dispels several myths about the plan. Of the 5 myths he dispels, the first three are good, but the next 2 are a little shaky. Yes, the CRA redistricting will not directly benefit the stadium. It DOES benefit the Arsht Center (PAC) which is a critical part of the entire plan. Despite this omission, wouldn't expanding the CRA for the impoverished zone north of downtown also benefit projects in that area by expanding the tax rolls and dedicated funding that the PAC and the proposed museums would represent? That's something Braman has yet to answer, because it hurts his cause, in my opinion.

Is this the best time economically to invest in a plan like this. Burgess thinks so. Maybe he's right, and in the long term there's no doubt it would be a benefit. But I don't know if it's a slam dunk to think that now is the best time. In the end, all this is irrelevant because most of the monies are currently available and can ONLY be used for these type of projects, not to lower taxes and help the poor.

Finally, Jorge Perez focuses on the "quality of life" enhancements that this project would help bring about. I couldn't agree more. Every major city has both high-level cultural and sporting events to offer their citizens. Miami should be no different. There's no doubt that a Museum Park blocks away from the beautiful Arsht Center, along with a baseball stadium less than 2 miles away, would be a huge boost to our quality of life. Some may disagree, and that's fine. But if New York, Chicago and practically every major city in the modern world can accommodate a variety of world-class attractions, then why can't Miami strive to do the same. We can do this AND do all the other things that are needed to keep the city running. It's not an either/or proposition. All it takes is civic pride, vision and will, something not too many people in Miami possess.


Blogger George L. Moneo said...

Good piece and I agree with your last sentence:

"All it takes is civic pride, vision and will, something not too many people in Miami possess."

I'm looking forward to the new ballpark. The naysayers be damned.

BTW, I'm shocked that Pope Pompous I, The Almighty Ruler of The Blogosphere, hasn't left a comment yet. That's a good thing... :-)

10:56 PM, June 22, 2008  

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