Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1: Stop Foot-Dragging On Historic Preservation

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The economic, social and cultural benefits of historic preservation have been proven over and over. But in the City of Miami, some have yet to learn the lessons.

The city is haggling over naming rights money for what is already officially (and appropriately) named the Commodore Ralph Middleton Munroe Miami Marine Stadium. Of course, it's an unwritten law that everything has to have a corporate name today, because that's part of how things are paid for. The city wants most of the money from the corporate naming rights - after it and Miami-Dade County let the Florida/Miami Marlins get away with the money for the right to name its new version of Tatum Field/Roddey Burdine Stadium/The Orange Bowl.

Meanwhile, renovation of Marine Stadium is being delayed. With that delay comes fears that the city will let it go to neglect - and suspicions that Miami's political leaders still don't want to restore the stadium, but would rather have something glitzier on the Virginia Key site.

There is also mistrust on the matter of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, as this Miami Herald article indicates:

Despite progress in the historic preservation movement since the days when the battle for Miami Beach's Art Deco District seemed to be literally on a block-by-block basis, there is still not enough protection for significant structures. When the economy is tottering, as it is now, it seems difficult to remember that restored historic structures are usually profitable ones.

For the sake of the local economy and community, everyone - government and private - who has a stake in both of these structures should stop the foot-dragging and haggling. Get the fine print ironed out and get Miami Marine Stadium and the Coconut Grove Playhouse restored - soon.

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