MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County will begin talks this week with a group led by David Beckham to hammer out details of a pro-soccer stadium.
The big question is where to put it?
Beckham’s group has made it clear it covets a spot at Port Miami on now vacant land by the bay.
“I’ve been intrigued by the various sites for major league soccer,” said Commissioner Xavier Suarez.
Suarez said Monday he could envision a stadium at the port and a network of pedestrian walkways and overpasses tying it and all of downtown’s parks and art and sports venues together.
“This would approximate, actually be bigger than Chicago’s Millennium Park. I mean, we’re talking about something very special in the way of a public space in the middle of downtown,” added Suarez.
Beckham and potential partners like the Miami Heat’s Lebron James would pay a pretty penny to lease the public land and erect the stadium.
“The stadium is definitely going to be built out of the private sector’s wallet. We are not, under any circumstances, going to fund the construction of the stadium,” Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barriero told CBS4’s Gary Nelson.
But skeptics are – well, skeptical.
They point to the half-billion taxpayer bucks the Marlins got for their stadium. The millions the county spends on the American Airlines Arena every year and the attempt to raid the public coffers for a Sun Life Stadium makeover.
“We have extensive experience and sufficient public record to look back and see that they have essentially abdicated their responsibility time and again to represent their constituents when it comes to negotiating with professional sports teams,” said filmmaker and activist Billy Corben.
Already county commissioners have twice voted – unanimously – to help clear possible obstacles to a David Beckham backed soccer team.
While there are more than two dozen possible sites under consideration for a soccer stadium, most involved are obviously are lusting for a place downtown on the water. Watchdogs promise to keep an eye out for anyone trying to put a hand in tax-payer’s pockets.