First, the news: Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado told an Urban Environment League forum Wednesday evening to expect an announcement soon about $3 million in seed money for Miami Marine Stadium restoration. Details in three weeks.
Among mostly friends, Regalado was chatty and relaxed, reiterating positions that must have sounded like sweet music to the audience.
I.E,: He still doesn’t think the port tunnel is a good idea; he’s “skeptical’’ the Miami Art Museum and Miami Science Museum have the fundraising muscle to meet their financial commitments towards new homes in Museum Park; the Miami River should be preserved as a working waterway; and he intends to amend the Miami 21 zoning code, approved by the previous commission but frozen by the new administration, to incorporate a laundry list of rejected amendments that had been proposed by neighborhood activists (interesting to see how that comes out since some appeared to be unworkable).
Still no overarching vision and little evidence of an appetite for one, other than a promise for greater transparency and public participation in government decisions and operations – to, as he put it, “reclaim the city for the residents.’’
But what started to emerge, perhaps, was hints of a strategy, if that’s what it is: A piecemeal approach that eschews the sweeping plans and multi-generational vision of his predecessor, Manny Diaz, for building blocks that can set in place in short order. Perhaps the right thing for parlous times and, as Regalado put it, widespread “government fatigue’’ on the part of voters?
That’s what struck me when he was asked if he favored forming a trust to guide master planning and restoration of Virginia Key. Why? he responded. Instead, he said, focus on something achievable – like renovating the landmark Marine Stadium.
“I’m not going to promise the people we are going to have the greatest thing ever on Virginia Key. I don’t know that,’’ he said, in what was perhaps a dig at Diaz, who came in for his share of them during the talk.
“But I know we can do Marine Stadium. This should be our immediate goal. If we do Marine Stadium, then people will believe Virginia Key can be done.’’
* The city will drop appeals of court decisions that struck down certain condo projects on the river as incompatible with the city’s comprehensive development plan. The comp plan will be re-amended to restore protections for marine-oriented businesses.
* He and new City Commissioner Richard Dunn will “do something’’ about severe underuse at the new $20 million Little Haiti Cultural Center (see below).
* He will seek to foster economic development in the city through expansion of the city’s film industry and revitalization of industrial zones in Allapattah, Little Haiti and Wynwood.