Former LA Galaxy standout David Beckham has continued to work to build a proposed soccer stadium in Miami, despite mounting opposition from community leaders. A group of more than 25 elected officials have signed on to a letter opposing Beckham’s efforts to bring a stadium to the Miami Seaport area.
On May 13, the Miami-Dade County Commission voted 11-1 against the proposed stadium in the area around the Port of Miami. According to the Miami Herald, opponents claim that they are not anti-soccer, but instead do not want to see the location developed for the stadium. The proposed project would have required an estimated $250 million effort to fill in a deep water marina. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which relies heavily on the deep water port for its Caribbean cruise operations, led the opposition to the soccer stadium project. Environmentalists are also opposed to the project, which would fill in part of the Biscayne Bay Aquifer Preserve.
Proponents noted that the Port, owned by the City of Miami, was deeply in debt, and that the project would bring millions of private dollars to redevelop the area. A voter referendum is expected in either August or November when Floridians go to the polls.
Despite its large Latino population, Miami is one of the few major U.S. cities without a professional soccer franchise. Beckham’s group, which includes high-profile investor and American Idol creator Simon Fuller, was granted the rights to an MLS expansion team in the Miami market, and is attempting to generate grassroots local fan support for a stadium, in advance of the referendum. Alternative sites have been proposed, although many are not without controversy.
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