The Miami Marlins will host two exhibition games on Sunday and Monday in advance of Wednesday's season opener, but the city of Miami has yet to solve a number of parking problems for the residents of the Little Havana neighborhood surrounding Marlins Park.
Besides fears that there will not be enough parking spots for fans on game days, the team and city of Miami still have to deal with the loss of residential parking spaces for citizens living in the area surrounding Marlins Park.
The Miami Herald reported Friday that the city voted to convert four city-owned lots into parking spaces for local residents, but cannot come up with the $40,000 to renovate the lots and pay for annual maintenance and security costs.
City Commissioner Frank Carollo told the Herald that the city will not pay those costs, but Marlins president David Samson said the team will refuse to cover those costs as well.
The Marlins will face the New York Yankees on Sunday and Monday in a pair of exhibitions that will serve as dry runs for stadium operations. Exhibitions against UM and FIU earlier this month were played in front of crowds less than half of capacity. The two Yankee games will be the first time the team fills up Marlins Park.
The St. Louis Cardinals visit on Wednesday for a one-game Opening Day visit that will be televised on ESPN.
A number of parking issues remain unsolved in the area surrounding the stadium. One resident told the Herald she plans to move after living near the old Orange Bowl site for 12 years. "“I’m disgusted with the city, with the Marlins, with everybody," said Juana Pérez.
The county eliminated a few blocks worth of on-street parking as part of a plan to redirect traffic, which only angered local residents. The plan to create new residential lots had assuaged most of the residents' anger, but now that the plan could fall apart due to lack of funding, tempers are once again flaring.
According to the Herald, the Miami police union will hold a protest in front of Marlins Park on Opening Day Wednesday for residents to voice their frustrations.
The Marlins have improved their team and facilities dramatically this offseason, but in the field of community relations, the Marlins continue to strike out.