Sides near settlement in Miami show site dispute

A settlement agreement will not thwart the Progressive Miami International Boat Show from taking place there in 2016.
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A rendering of the NMMA’s vision for the Miami International Boat Show, set to take place Feb. 11-15 at the Miami Marine Stadium Marine Park and Basin.

A rendering of the NMMA’s vision for the Miami International Boat Show, set to take place Feb. 11-15 at the Miami Marine Stadium Marine Park and Basin.

A settlement agreement proposed by the city of Miami and the village of Key Biscayne that would end a dispute over the Miami Marine Stadium Marine Park will not thwart the Progressive Miami International Boat Show from taking place there in 2016.

"If the mediation agreement is signed by the city of Miami and the village of Key Biscayne, the Miami International Boat Show will go forward as planned in 2016 and 2017 and the legal dispute with the village of Key Biscayne would end,” National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only Today in an email.

The Miami Herald reported today that a settlement agreement had been drafted between the two parties in an effort to resolve the lawsuit filed by the village against the city over plans to hold the boat show, and potentially other large events, at the stadium, which has languished since Hurricane Andrew slammed into it in 1992.

The village can buy a stake in how the new park and event space will operate on Virginia Key — for $12.5 million — starting with the massive Miami International Boat Show, according to the Miami Herald.

Under the agreement, Key Biscayne and the city of Miami would operate the facility next to the Miami Marine Stadium together through a semi-independent park conservancy as long as the village pays about half the cost of the project.

The possible agreement, forged through several mediation sessions dating from April, also splits the $37.5 million cost of the long-sought restoration of the historic marine stadium.

“This is a pretty good deal for the city and it's a good deal for Key Biscayne,” Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who represented the city in negotiations, told the newspaper.

The settlement — which the city argued last week is confidential under state law until signed — could go before the Miami City Commission for a vote Thursday, and possibly the Key Biscayne Village Council the following day.

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado told the Herald he still has concerns about turning over control of city land to an independent conservancy. Village Mayor Mayra Peña Lindsay said in a statement that the city has tried to change stipulations of the settlement.

“Certain demands made by the city after the parties’ ‘final’ mediation session, however, regrettably now make that resolution more tenuous,” she said in the statement.

A copy of the proposed agreement, which would settle all lawsuits filed by the village, details financial, operational and oversight specifics. The document was provided by the village at the request of The Islander News, which first reported the agreement Monday.

It stipulates that the 2016 show can proceed, and a show in 2017 as long as there is not a death directly attributed to the event, an incident in which an emergency rescue patient can’t make it to a hospital or if there’s a “catastrophic event.”

It also states that after the 2017 boat show, events with fewer than 10,000 guests a day and lasting fewer than seven consecutive days can be held between Nov. 21 and Jan. 5 each year.

After 2017, the fate of the boat show would be in the hands of a private conservancy governed by six members, three appointed by the city and three appointed by the village.

“With our industry's significant investment in holding the boat show at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin and the $597 million in economic activity it creates for Florida each year, we must ensure it becomes a long-term home for years to come,” Dammrich said.

The NMMA’s transition for the boat show from the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is undergoing renovations for the coming two years, to the marine stadium has been met with stark opposition from the Key Biscayne mayor.

The village has filed several lawsuits in an attempt to stop the show from taking place. Miami Mayor Regalado expressed frustration with the village, saying that after any concerns were addressed, new problems arose for the municipality.

Show organizers said in July that one of the industry’s largest events was still moving ahead as planned.

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