“It's not a done deal.”
That is the message some Overtown and Spring Gardens residents want to send to Miami Beckham United as it pursues plans to build a soccer stadium in the community. Residents in the two communities attended a meeting Wednesday to discuss why they oppose the stadium plans.
"What's the benefit to this historic neighborhood?" asked Bishop James Adams, who joined the newly-created Overtown Spring Gardens Community Collective.
The group believes other areas in South Florida are better suited for the soccer stadium. The Beckham group is eyeing land on Northwest 8th Street and 7th Avenue for the 25,000-seat stadium. Opponents said it’s a bad idea.
"Noise, traffic. The fact that we have 25,000 people swarming the area at once and then we have nobody there for the other 320 plus days per year,” said Amanda Hand.
One major hurdle for the Beckham group is a lawsuit filed by Spring Garden land owner Bruce Matheson. He alleges the county broke the law by selling Beckham land in a no-bid deal.
"They're supposed to get an open bid for disposing of county land. The values of the property have escalated since the appraisal was done," argued Matheson.
A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade County Mayor's office called the lawsuit frivolous and said in part:
"The County is on solid legal ground and we expect the Beckham group to finalize the purchase of public land for $9.1 million, finance the construction of their stadium with private dollars, and once completed, pay property taxes on the stadium."
The Overtown Spring Gardens Community Collective says it plans to continue meeting and speaking out against the stadium deal.