Written by John Hildreth
How is waging a major preservation battle like watching the tide at the beach? Well, you can tell if the tide is coming in or going out, but you never really can see that moment when the tide turns. So it is with some of the major preservation battles we fight. Hindsight may tell us when the tide turned, however, it is very hard to identify that moment when you are in the middle of the battle.
The Friends of Miami Marine Stadium are in the midst of a major effort to bring back to life the modernist Miami Marine Stadium, included on our 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2009. The stadium, abandoned and neglected since Hurricane Andrew, has steadily seen support grow for its rehabilitation. The friends have been working for more than a year to turn the tide of public opinion and local government plans for the stadium. Yesterday was one of those days when we might say the tide has turned.
The Miami-Dade County Commission voted to allocate $3 million from the remaining $10 million of their Historic Preservation Fund towards the rehabilitation of the Miami Marine Stadium. It is a huge victory for the Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium and the Miami community. The money is conditioned on the development of a viable business plan for the stadium but will provide a huge shot in the arm towards the anticipated $5-$8 million price tag for rehabilitation of the concrete and steel structure.
“Yesterday’s vote is an enormous step forward in the effort to resurrect the iconic Miami Marine Stadium and return it to its former glory,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The National Trust for Historic Preservation commends the Miami Dade County Commission for its commitment to saving this Modernist treasure.”
In many ways the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium are waging a model campaign. Check out their web site for information on the stadium, their ongoing efforts, Jimmy Buffet’s public service announcement for the stadium, student designs for the stadium’s reuse and other interesting content.
John Hildreth is the director of the Southern Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.