Residents Express Concerns Over Miami MLS Stadium Plan

Miami MLS Stadium rendering

When it comes to a proposed Miami MLS stadium, some residents near the venue’s planned site are concerned about its potential impact on the surrounding area. 

Earlier this week, David Beckham‘s years-long effort to bring an MLS franchise to Miami took a major step forward when he and the league announced plans for a new expansion team launching in 2020. Beckham’s group, Miami Beckham United, is planning to privately finance a new 25,000-seat stadium in the city’s Overtown neighborhood, but hurdles remain in the process of completing the facility.

Final governmental approval of the Overtown stadium site is still needed, and there is a threat of continuing legal action from Bruce Matheson, who is arguing the land for the stadium was sold below fair market value and should have been subjected to a bid process. He lost the first round when his lawsuit was dismissed, but there has been talk of an appeal.

The stadium proposal is also drawing concerns from residents in the surrounding area. One issue is that the stadium will have no on-site parking infrastructure and instead rely on other options–including public transportation–but some in the neighborhood are more worried that the facility’s arrival will lead to higher rent prices that force many residents to relocate. More from AFP:

The problem of rising housing costs comes with gentrification. Overtown is a black-majority neighborhood of some 13,000 people, and 24 percent of the residents earn less than $10,000 a year, well below the poverty level.

“This has been a low-income housing area for many years,” [Ernest] Martin told AFP at his home along the river.

“Ultimately the big increase in rent for the area will cause Overtown to become a more select area for residential users,” he added.

The barren lot of land where the stadium is supposed to go up is surrounded by a fence on which neighbors have hung a sign that reads, “No to the stadium.”

Last year, Miami-Dade County voted to move forward with the sale of a land parcel to Beckham’s group that was needed to complete the stadium site. The group had spent considerable time discussing other sites around Miami, before announcing plans for the Overtown location in late 2015.

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