Only a week before an anticipated 100,000 visitors descend on Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin for the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key, preservation organizations have launched a petition to raise public support to fully restore the stadium. The show runs from February 11 to 15 inclusive.
The organizations leading the effort include the National Trust for Historic Preservation (a privately funded non-profit organization working to save America's historic places) and Dade Heritage Trust (Miami-Dade County's largest historic preservation organization founded as a non-profit in 1972). Show visitors will find information kiosks in and around the show staffed by the preservation groups, where attendees and exhibitors will be able to learn more about Miami Marine Stadium and sign a new petition calling on Miami's city commissioners to make the stadium's restoration a priority in 2016.
A kiosk will be located in the central courtyard of the Boat Show campus just outside the entrance to the stadium. For those unable to attend in person, the petition is also be available at www.SavingPlaces.org/stadium starting today.
Additionally, the National Trust is working with local visual performance artists to illuminate the iconic structure using projections of vintage stadium footage so that attendees are able to fully appreciate its history and unique architecture.
The light installation will take place on Friday, February 12, through Sunday, February 14, beginning at 4:00 p.m. (EST) and running until 8:00 p.m. (EST) each evening.
Miami's annual boat show is expected by organizers to serve as a catalyst for the restoration of Miami Marine Stadium. The City of Miami has already spent more than US $20,000,000 to make improvements to the land around the stadium, including the creation of a flex park as called for by the Virginia Key Master Plan.
Other developments that could suggest a restoration effort is gaining momentum include:
• A nomination to add the stadium to the National Register of Historic Places has been prepared for the US Department of the Interior and is pending approval by the Miami City Commission. If named to the National Register, restoration work at the stadium would qualify for federal historic tax credits, which would reduce restoration costs by approximately US $6,000,000.
• The Miami City Commission has created an advisory committee that will help shape a long-term vision for Virginia Key, including a business plan for the key that includes the renovation and re-opening of Miami Marine Stadium to the public. Both the National Trust and Dade Heritage Trust have been invited to serve on this committee.
• On December 15, the City of Miami issued an RFQ for architectural and engineering services for the stadium. The response due date was recently extended to Wednesday, February 17.
Miami Marine Stadium was designed in 1963 by architect Hilario Candela and Engineer Jack Meyer. With a football field-length roofline, the stadium was built to view speed boat racing at a time when Miami was the epicenter of the sport. The stadium, which has been shuttered and deteriorating for 20 years, also hosted stars like Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Brubeck, the Beach Boys, and Ray Charles on its dramatic floating stage.