As the Marlins stadium agreement moves toward a final vote at the February 13 County Commission meeting, we finally have more detailed renderings and a site plan of the proposed ballpark. Aside from the fact that I’m philosophically opposed to the deal in its current form, the hodgepodge site plan and bland design don’t do much to win me over. I am really disappointed that this is the best we can come up with for such an important site in our city.
The first and most obvious problem is the use of the corner of NW 7th Street and 17th Avenue (in the top left of the site plan) as spillover parking. Parking? Really? This would be a great location for a mixed use development that would attract people who would actually want to live here. The same is true for the parking lots along NW 17th avenue - an important boulevard in the city. Where are people going to go before and after games? What this development is lacking are all the elements that would make this a real destination - shops, bars, and restaurants. The lack of transit connectivity is also a huge problem (is there even a bus stop incorporated into the design??) and the abundance of exposed parking garages and parking lots are not inviting. This promises to be yet another boondoggle that people flock to in their cars on game day, and leave right after. The surrounding neighborhood will not benefit economically from the increased traffic flowing through the area because there is nowhere for people to go (the Marlins have made sure of that - how else would they make money on concessions). The site will slowly fall into disrepair and be obsolete in twenty years (read: Miami Arena 1, Miami Arena 2, Orange Bowl, etc.) Most of 17th avenue will continue to look as it does today: a string of parking lots that remain empty 90% of the time.
As with every other aspect of this deal the only winners are the Marlins - the City foots the bill for constructing the parking garages (which is not really their job) and part of the stadium and the Marlins sit back and collect.
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