After hours of debate, Miami city commissioners delayed the vote on the measure that clears way for the new sports complex for soccer star David Beckham's Major League Soccer franchise.
The decision was deferred until July 18, the last meeting where commissioners should decide on submitting language for the November ballot.
Beckham appeared before City of Miami commissioners Thursday to discuss his proposals for a new soccer stadium on the site of a public golf course. Passionate residents and workers went before the commission at city hall in the afternoon to voice their opinions on the new sports complex.
"We're trying to let you guys know there's a real opportunity here," Beckham said before city leaders, supporters and critics of the proposed stadium.
He spoke about growing up in East London, where his working-class parents supported his soccer journey and eventually, his move to play for Manchester United during his early career.
"I'm passionate about the game. I'm passionated about bringing this game to the community," he said.
Beckham and his partners, including Jorge Mas, want the location of the complex, called Miami Freedom Park, at the current Melreese Country Club, off Northwest 37th Avenue and the Dolphin Expressway near Miami International Airport.
In addition to the 28,000-seat stadium, the land would feature 110 acres of permanent green space and 23 acres of youth soccer fields which would be open to the public. The park could bring in $40 million worth of annual tax revenue and the group will also donate $20 million to the city to help operate the park while creating 11,000 jobs over the next three years.
Commissioners needed time to rehash out certain points of the deal, including wanted reassurance from Beckham's group about who would pay for the remediation costs of the acres of land that could possibly be polluted with toxic ash.
"I’ve seen this movie before. A millionaire wants public land or public money to build a stadium or build a project. It has to happen right away, it's an emergency, they promise millions in tax revenue and thousands of jobs. Don't worry about all the details," one woman said.
"I’m very much in support of allowing soccer to be on the ballot or the proposal to do Melreese as a soccer facility," one man told commissioners.
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