The Miami Dolphins took their Sun Life Stadium renovations pitch on the road Thursday, highlighting support from a county commissioner and the mayor of Miami Gardens, the team’s hometown for 26 years.
The politicians’ backing carries weight in the city that perhaps knows the Dolphins best.
But that neighborly history also has made some people in Miami Gardens skeptical about the team’s promises of economic benefits from the planned $400 million in renovations, about of half of which would be funded by taxes.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert and Dolphins CEO Mike Dee stressed that upgrading the stadium to attract more international soccer games and concerts during the football offseason would employ more locals, bring customers to the city’s shops and restaurants, and spur development on vacant parcels nearby.
“When people come to a Super Bowl or a national championship in Miami Gardens, they eat on Brickell, and they sleep on South Beach. And they shop in our stores. They support our businesses,” Gilbert said. “That’s what this is about.”
He called the Dolphins “our largest taxpayer and a vital community partner.” The team sponsors some of the city’s biggest events, including the annual Jazz in the Gardens festival.
But that has not done much to assuage the concerns of others in the city, who say Miami Gardens has received little payoff from being home to the stadium.
“I’m a Dolphins fan, but I have to say, very honestly, there has not been an incredible windfall to this community,” said former City Councilman André Williams.