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Former Miami mayor slams current Miami-Dade mayor's soccer proposal


Former Miami mayor Manny Diaz  issued a statement Tuesday slamming Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez's proposal to fill-in a massive slip in downtown Miami for a soccer stadium. Joined by former Miami commissioners Johnny Winton,  Joe Sanchez and Angel Gonzalez, Diaz compared the plan to the Marlins' failed effort to bring a baseball park to nearby Bicentennial Park. 

Diaz is known as a behind-the-scenes advocate for putting a soccer stadium next to the Marlins' actual stadium in Little Havana, and he helped champion the unpopular tax-funded deal that built the ballpark.  This is is his first formal public statement on the ongoing soccer debate. 

Read the statement after the jump.

The statement:



During the early part of the last decade, a professional sports team came to us requesting thatwe turn over Bicentennial Park (now Museum Park) to build a baseball stadium. We refused to hand over one of the few remaining public waterfront locations to them because we wanted to safeguard public access to Biscayne Bay.

Today, we are shocked to hear that another professional sports team wants to build a soccer stadium on the same waterfront. A sports stadium no more belongs on the scarce waterfront today than it did in the year 2000.

With thousands of new urban dwellers and thousands more on the way, the need for green space has never been greater. There is no reason that Miami, a city graced with unrivaled natural beauty, should not also be graced with great civic and green spaces, with public parks, plazas and museums. 

Great cities, large and small, are all embracing the opportunity to enhance the public realm by creating the zones, spaces, and buildings that create pride, areas equally owned by the people, irrespective of economic or social circumstance.

Through the efforts of many, we are creating an unrivaled public space, with museums, an opera house, a symphony hall and a beautiful park all set against the background of the beautiful vista that is Biscayne Bay. This work must continue.

We have done this because we owe a lasting legacy to those who will call Miami home long after we have gone. Miami has become one of the world’s leading urban centers, fulfilling its long awaited destiny. This is our gift to the future. Let us not purge this gift by building a stadium where it does not belong. Let us keep the waterfront in public hands.

Manny Diaz, former Mayor, City of Miami

Johnny Winton, former Commissioner, City of Miami

Joe Sanchez, former Commissioner, City of Miami

Angel Gonzalez, former Commissioner, City of Miami


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Common Sense Miami

Bravo, Manny, for continuing to lead on a vision for a world class Miami!

Anyone can see the space is too small for a proper soccer stadium. It will cast a major shadow on Museum Park--the first signature public green space in Miami. Gimenez's plans are an affront to the decade-long efforts of this community to build Museum Park, as well as the voters' who approved the development of the park.

When will Mayor Gimenez understand that the existing infrastructure and the future of Miami's urbanism make the Little Havana area near Marlins Park the only feasible option?


ed jenkins

The citizens welcome this soccer business but have stated emphatically many times recently that they do not want their money confiscated for the benefit of private business owners including this soccer team. Some wise commenters have mentioned that this soccer venture should play in an already built including the FIU football stadium which would be large enough to accommodate the very few who have interest in this dull sport. Americans have invented more advanced games since they were bored with this primitive game so it makes no sense for owners to go through with this effort but the citizens wish them luck.


After reading the article, I think Manny needs a lesson on what is actually going on. "Today, we are shocked to hear that another professional sports team wants to build a soccer stadium on the same waterfront," say Manny Diaz. That is not exactly accurate, as David Beckham, Marcelo Claure, and the rest of their investment group, along with thousands of Miami and South Florida residents and citizens, don't WANT the stadium there, but would much rather see the stadium as originally planned at PortMiami.

Since "Diaz is known as a behind-the-scenes advocate for putting a soccer stadium next to the Marlins' actual stadium in Little Havana, and he helped champion the unpopular tax-funded deal that built the ballpark," I don't think we should expect too much from him either. Appears he may be trying to make some political hay out of this and secure another deal for his interests.

A Southern Legion (local MLS Supporters Group) member recently voiced what many local soccer fans agree with, "I would be so bummed if we traded one plan - to expand waterfront access and build the kind of stadium Miami deserves - for a plan that actually REDUCES public access to a waterfront and doesn't make use of the tunnel..." With all due respect to local soccer supporters wanting a stadium, it coming at the price of reducing already very limited, valuable waterfront green space, would make it a very hollow achievement. PortMiami actually CREATES publicly usable space, green and otherwise, while ensuring that Miami puts its best foot forward in showing the world what the World's Most Beautiful Game (and world's most popular game) looks like, in a uniquely and incomparable Miami Style! SUPPORT THE STADIUM AT THE PORT!!

Ralph Arza

Manny Diaz is out of touch with reality, the same guy who brought the Marlins Stadium is now against this stadium. It makes sense..they left him out if the deal!

I support Mayor Gimenez!

harry Houdini

MLS needs to go international with a team and a stadium in Havana!

Give us all a FUC-in break!


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