MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Professional soccer in Miami seemed a certain goal just a few months ago when one of the world’s top athletes, David Beckham, brought his hopes to the Magic City. But Beckham, not known for losing, is now reeling from two major losses.
It all started months ago, in February, when soccer star David Beckham confirmed the rumors swirling that he had decided on Miami as home for his new expansion Major League Soccer team.
Beckham’s group planned on building a soccer stadium at PortMiami, overlooking the water and the skyline but it wasn’t long before the plan fell through.
“We want to make sure it happens, but in the right place.” County commissioners ruled PortMiami was not the right location but not to worry, as Mayor Carlos Gimenez put it, “We continue to look for different places.”
Mayor Gimenez and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado came up with this: filling an unused boat slip nestled between the AmericanAirlines Arena and Museum Park. The stadium, the so-called Plan B which was unveiled late May, would be surrounded by green space.
Regalado loved it.
But that all changed Monday when he bowed to the signs of opposition, literally posted in the windows of downtown residents who don’t want the congestion a stadium would bring.
“The residents were vehemently opposed to it. They came to the office with tax bills saying they pay taxes and they need quality of life,” said Regalado.
Park activists were also opposed to the boat slip soccer stadium.
“It’s always nice when elected officials hear what the people want and what the people want is for Museum Park to remain as green space, open, green, waterfront space,” said Maggie Fernandez with the Parks Advisory Board.
Always resilient, Beckham’s group issued a statement saying, “We respect Mayor Regalado’s decision. David and our team are experiencing an incredible level of support and passion to bring MLS to Miami.”
So no on to the next…what’s “Plan C” going to be?
“I think it’s up to the Beckham people to define what Plan C is. I’m open to helping them in any way possible. I think they have to digest what happened yesterday and then they’re going to make a decision,” said Gimenez.
The group has flatly rejected a spot next to the Marlins Baseball Park built with half billion tax dollars amid public outrage and which caused former mayor Carlos Alvarez to lose his job in a recall election.