Miami-Dade County Agrees to $45 Million Bailout for Frost Science Museum

The Frost Science Museum is about to get a boost of money from Miami-Dade County, after commissioners on Tuesday agreed to give $45 million to help pay for the completion of the facility.

The museum's largest donor, Dr. Philip Frost, said don't call it corporate welfare.

"What greater priority is there then to help develop the minds of our young people," he said. "This is a public institution in our minds. It is not a for-profit in any way, no one involved with it has anything to gain personally."

The county pledged $165 million in bond money. Private donations were expected to be in the $107 million range but county Officials say just $33 million has been donated and spent.

The shortfall is risking completion of the facility. And then there is the politics, with county mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado critical of Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

"This is not the first time we have a manufactured emergency. I believe that this emergency is a result of Mayor Carlos Gimenez administration's neglect," she said.

"Pretty easy to cast stones and all of that, it is a lot harder to be the mayor and actually make decisions and actually find solutions to very difficult problems, all right, and we did that today," Gimenez answered back.

By a 12 to 1 vote, county commissioners agreed to provide the additional $45 million, money earmarked for tourism-related projects only.

After the vote Dr. Frost spoke of the museum's benefit to the children.

"We want to have these kids be not only participants but have a shot at excelling," he said. "I think they will get stimulated and inspired by this museum and I think it is a good thing for everybody."

The original deal called for the county to give the museum $4 million each year to help pay operational costs. Instead the county will provide the lump sum of $45 million to help wrap up construction.

The plan is for this facility to be open by the end of the year.

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