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Committee will lead campaign for Sony tennis tournament ballot question to upgrade Crandon Park

Sony Open tennis tournament organizers have created a steering committee to lead the campaign for a Nov. 6 Miami-Dade ballot measure that would extend the tournament's lease and approve nearly $50 million in upgrades to Key Biscayne's Crandon Park Tennis Center.

The upgrades could only be paid for with tennis center and tournament revenues and private funds. But the organizers' plan could only move forward if a two-thirds majority of voters sign off on the measure -- a tall order for any ballot question. (Read more about the organizers' plans here.)

The steering committee will "educate the public on the measure and galvanize support," according to a press release. The group will be chaired by Adam Barrett, senior vice president of IMG, which runs the tournament.

Other members include retired tennis player (and honorary committee chairwoman) Mary Joe Fernandez; Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, who has written columns for The Miami Herald; Key Biscayne Mayor Frank Caplan; Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Phillis Oeters, and William D. Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

The group has set up a website, www.parkpartnership.com, to solicit campaign contributions, recruit volunteers and push for the amendment. It's paid for by a new political action committee, Committee to Preserve an Ideal Partnership, which has raised $50,000 from IMG.

Read the press release after the jump.

Miami-Dade County voters to determine
the future of Crandon Park upgrades and
Sony Open tennis tournament 

Park Partnership steering committee supportstournament-funded
improvements at Crandon Park Tennis Center. 

International tennis tournament generates more than
$386 million in economic impact for Miami-Dade County each year. 

MIAMI, FL – September 26, 2012 – Miami-Dade County voters casting ballots this fall will have an opportunity to approve tournament-funded upgrades to the Crandon Park Tennis Center that will enhance the park for year-round public use and safeguard theSony Open’s future in Miami. Voters will be asked to vote yes on #238, a referendum to authorizeimprovements to the park’s facilities and an extension of the Tournament’s usage agreement beyond the current nine year term. The park improvements would be entirely paid for by Tournament-generated revenues and cost savings, with no cost to taxpayers. 

If approved, the proposed park improvements would be the first major Tennis Center updates since 1994, when Stadium Court opened. Tournament owner IMG estimates the total enhancements would cost approximately $50 million, without a single penny of public money spent. 

Efforts to educate the public on the measure and galvanize support are being spearheaded by the Park Partnership campaign, a coalition of business and civic leaders from Miami-Dade County and beyond. Members of the Park Partnership steering committee include Chair Adam Barrett, Honorary Chair and retired tennis star Mary Joe Fernandez, Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, Key Biscayne Mayor Frank Caplan, Al Dotson, Jr., Maria Alonso, Marcelo Claure, Eddie Cutillas, Javier Soto, Phillis Oeters, Joy Lundeen, Jennifer Stearns Buttrick, James Champion, William D. Talbert, III, Jeff Bartel, Florencia Tabeni, and Tico Casamayor, among others. 

Beyond its standing as one of the world’s most prominent tennis tournaments, the Sony Open is a significant economic engine for Miami-Dade County. In fact, the Tournament is among the largest recurring events to take place in Miami, generating an impact of more than $386 million annually*. In addition, the Tournament and Miami receive more than 7,000 hours of global television coverage broadcast throughout 180 countries. 

The need for a County-wide vote stems from an amendment to the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter which requires that two-thirds of Miami-Dade County voters approve extensions or modifications to leases and construction of any permanent structures in Crandon Park. 

“The Sony Open is a world class tennis event and an asset to Miami that brings in the top men’s and women’s players and showcases the best of Miami to the world,” said Adam Barrett, Tournament Director and Vice President at IMG, which owns the Sony Open. “Just as other cities around the globe invest in their professional tennis facilities, we are proposing a series of improvements that will ensure the Tournament can remain at home in Miami for years to come. Best of all, the public will be able to enjoy a better park at no cost to taxpayers.” 

The Sony Open’s proposed park updates include new green spaces, shaded areas, landscaping with plants and trees native to Key Biscayne, and show courts with comfortable seating. The Tournament’s capacity, terms of use and limitations on height of park structures will remain in place. Miami-Dade County will continue to own and operate the Tennis Center, ensuring the improved facilities are open to the public for 49 weeks of the year. 

“The proposed upgrades to the Crandon Park Tennis Center reflect a private investment with a public benefit,” according to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier Suarez, who sponsored the proposal for the referendum’s ballot placement in November. “Outside of the two weeks each year when Crandon Park is at the center of the international tennis world, the improved Tennis Center will be enjoyed by Miami-Dade residents. This is the way public-private partnerships should work in Miami-Dade County.” 

The 2012 Sony Open was the most successful Tournament held to date, drawing more than 326,000 attendees, nearly 20 percent of whom currently reside outside the U.S., and resulting in the booking of more than 15,000 hotel room nights. 

“The Sony Open is to Miami what Wimbledon is to London and the US Open is to New York,” said Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO William D. Talbert, III. “Each year, the Tournament imports the world and exports Miami’s brand across the globe, energizing our tourism economy and growing international appeal.” 

The election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting beginning on October 27, 2012. Learn more about the Park Partnership campaign at www.parkpartnership.com. 

*2012 Economic Impact Study by SMRI (Sports Management Research Institute).

Comments

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J.P.

Is it by coincidence or design that the lobbyist for the Marlin Stadium, Javier Soto, is on the committee?!!

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