Here’s a thought: We celebrate the fact that Downtown Miami abuts a beautiful body of water called Biscayne Bay by clearing space for a public park/square where we citizens can enjoy a respite from the gridlock and exhaust of urban life. I know, in a car-centric, casino-craving, condo-glutted metropolis like Miami, it is hard to imagine that we would ever gift ourselves such a place. Fortunately, someone has rendered the mirage for us.
The sketch appeared (attributed to no one, oddly) on Saturday in a Miami Herald opinion piece by District 7 commissioner Xavier L. Suarez. In the column, Suarez hails the park as an alternative to the casinos so many lobbyists — including School Board member Carlos Curbelo — want to proliferate downtown. He goes on to challenge the Genting Group, which recently bought the Herald building and intends to build a Dubai-worthy (i.e., embarrassingly gaudy) resort complex in its place, complete with a casino if possible.
The Genting principals have indicated that they want their hotels to be casinos. They have also said that they will build their project regardless of whether gaming is approved. I say we hold them to their word, and offer them the alternative of being connected to the world’s most enticing urban public space, with cultural, recreational and artistic facilities congregated into one contiguous venue.