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Priceless Views Saved In Miami

Scenic Florida
Photo: Crespogram.com

"Scenic Miami-Dade founders felt saving Museum Park from a 10 acre sports stadium was essential."

We were happy to assist neighbors and a plethora of local organizations to convince local politicians to respect the newly renovated Museum Park and the FEC Slip. Mayor Tomas Regalado was the pivotal public official at the City of Miami. He listened to residents and citizens."
-- Peter R. Ehrlich, Jr, Scenic Miami-Dade

" Less than a month after Miami-Dade County spurned a Major League Soccer stadium, the city of Miami did the same, telling David Beckham’s investment group Tuesday that he cannot build on downtown’s Museum Park and deep-water boat slip.

Mayor Tomás Regalado and City Manager Daniel Alfonso told Beckham’s group thanks but no thanks when lead negotiator John Alschuler offered Miami $2 million a year in rent of sorts to make a deal.

That was 'generous,' according to Alfonso, but neither he nor the mayor walked into the meeting with Alschuler intending to bargain. 'Given the uniqueness of this site, we agreed that this was just not the right place,' Alfonso said.

'The slip is off the table,' Regalado said...

Regalado, who was elected after opposing public financing for the Miami Marlins’ ballpark in Little Havana, said numerous downtown residents — who are not known for being politically engaged — were loud in their opposition to the location.

'They have called, they have come, they have been very active,' he said. 'We listened.'

The mayor at first embraced the idea to fill the nine-acre boat slip, which was proposed by County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. A stadium would have encroached on 4.2 acres of Museum Park’s 19 acres. Beckham’s group would have landscaped the newly filled waterfront and connected it to the county-owned property behind AmericanAirlines Arena, known as Parcel B. That would have fulfilled a longtime promise to turn Parcel B into a public park, the investors said, and created new park land behind the stadium along Biscayne Bay...

'If asked by Major League Soccer and Miami Beckham United, my Administration will work to identify other possible sites in Miami-Dade County,' Gimenez said.

The Museum Park site had quickly drawn detractors. Condo residents worried about traffic congestion and losing their green space and bay views. High-profile architects and planners protested that Museum Park was intended to be an urban oasis — not a patch of dirt or water hole meant to be filled and developed.

Among the fiercest opponents was former city Mayor Manny Diaz, who during his administration had rejected putting a baseball stadium on the site. He praised Tuesday’s decision, calling it 'the right choice.'

'I am hopeful that Mr. Beckham will consider other sites in our City and I am willing to help in any way I can,' he said in a statement.

Museum Park is scheduled to open Saturday. The Eagle, a U.S. Coast Guard training tall ship, will be docked at the water basin.

Regalado said he hopes Beckham’s group finds another home for its stadium in Miami. 'Everybody here loves soccer,' he said..."

-- Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald


Grand Jury Releases Findings On Billboard Company's Illegal Tree Cutting Permits

In June 2009, Citizens for a Scenic Florida received an anonymous letter reporting that acres of trees were being cut down along I-10 and other state roads in the Panhandle without approved vegetation management plans or associated mitigation fees.  As it turned out, more than 2000 trees were "illegally removed" from state right-of-way along I-10 and other roads in the Panhandle.  The letter indicated that the trees were removed by Bill Salter Advertising Co. in order to create view zones for the company's billboards.  The letter also suggested that Salter Advertising had used the influence of then State Representative Greg Evers to broker a deal with FDOT leadership and that an FDOT employee had been ordered by the FDOT District Director of Operations James Rodgers to let Salter Advertising "do whatever they want."  In response to public records requests by Citizens for a Scenic Florida and the St. Pete Times, no documents provided by FDOT confirmed any communications on the subject between then Representative Evers, then FDOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos, and then FDOT Deputy Secretary Kevin Thibault.  In response to a public records request made in 2010 (by a citizen in St. Petersburg) for all emails to and from Secretary Kopelousos for a given period, among the thousands of documents provided by FDOT were emails revealing such communication between Evers, Kopelousos and Thibault. Other emails turned up later when the original records requests were repeated verbatim in 2011. This information was forwarded to the State Attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit and subsequently reviewed by a Grand Jury. The Grand Jury called it a debacle.

* Grand Jury Presentment (report)

* Grand Jury Presentment Attachments


* Citizens for a Scenic Florida Press Release


* Citizens for a Scenic Florida letter to Governor Scott


* Citizens for a Scenic Florida letter to FDOT Secretary

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FDOT letter (dated 2-22-2012) to Bill Salter Advertising, Inc.