Referendum in sight

On April 10, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners voted in favor of putting the Sun Life Stadium renovation deal in front of voters in a May 14 referendum.

The commissioners were called to a special meeting on April 10 to see whether or not the citizens of Miami-Dade County would get the chance to vote on proposed renovations to Sun Life Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami Hurricanes. The final vote was tallied as 8-3 in favor of the referendum.

The Miami Dolphins and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez reached a deal in which the county would increase the inland bed tax by one percent in order to fund some of the renovation costs. This means that one penny of every dollar spent on a hotel room in Miami-Dade County would go towards renovation costs. Unlike the deal with building Marlins Park, the money for Sun Life Stadium would come from tourist taxes, not resident taxes.

Raul Molina, sophomore biology major and Miami-Dade resident said, “I think the deal is great. The stadium needs the renovations.”

Businessman Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, has proposed constructing a canopy over the stadium to allow fans to be out of the elements but the field will still be open. Ross and the rest of the Dolphins organization claims that the renovations are a necessity if Miami-Dade County wants to compete with more modern facilities in hosting big name events, such as the Super Bowl and BCS National Championship game.

Max Choi, freshman biology major said, “I love the renovation ideas. I’m an avid football fan and I would be able to enjoy the game without having to worry about the weather.”

The deal that was worked out between the Dolphins and the county is a 30-year deal which includes a non-relocation clause, amongst other conditions. Within the 30-year deal, the Miami Dolphins will not be allowed to move to another facility and the stadium must be a host to four Super Bowls, four BCS National Championship games and an unspecified number of international soccer matches. If these conditions are not met, then the Dolphins will have to pay back a minimum of $120 million to the county.

Ross has publicly stated that the Dolphins will pay approximately 70 percent of the costs and 100 percent of cost overruns, and will be committed to the county for the next 30 years.

The stadium renovation deal picked up steam a couple months ago when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned that Sun Life Stadium needed an upgrade if South Florida wanted to host another Super Bowl. The rush has come in to play so that the Dolphins will have an answer before May 22 — the day the NFL will announce the site of Super Bowl L in 2016. South Florida and Santa Clara, Calif., the home of the San Francisco 49ers, are the top two in the running.

We will have to wait until May 14 to see just how much support the renovation deal has from the citizens of Miami-Dade county.

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