Fight to Save Miami Marine Stadium Continues with Heineken On board

Around this time last year, Hattie Mae Williams was featured on this blog for her film Culture Concrete, which was gaining ground around Miami and being screened at various venues. Her idea – to use the Miami Marine Stadium as a performance venue for her Tattooed Ballerinas dance troupe.

Fast forward to present day and that idea is still being sought by the local organization Restore Marine Stadium, led by Don Worth and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Trust became involved in 2009 when they declared the Marine Stadium one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Then in 2012 named it to their flagship.

“Over the years, we’ve teamed up with everyone from the mayor of Miami to a collective of internationally renowned graffiti artists to raise awareness of the stadium and to tell its amazing story,” said Stephanie Meeks, president & CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The two groups were instrumental in getting Heineken to come on board, thanks to their efforts at this year’s Miami International Boat Show. The reps from Restore Marine and the National Trust shared a booth at the show, which happened to be next to Heineken’s booth. While representatives from Restore and the Preservation gathered signatures on a petition, they drew interest from the Heineken reps.

“Heineken is of course a major sponsor of the Boat Show, and that’s really where the conversation about their Cities campaign began,” said Meeks.

Dancer Todd Fox in front of a piece by artist Hoxxah at the Miami Marine Stadium. (Photo courtesy of Restore Marine Stadium)

That campaign developed into the “Save Your Seat Campaign” (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/restore-miami-marine-stadium-history#/) where the goal is to raise $100,000 toward the removal and repurposing of the stadium’s worn and weathered seats. This is a first step in the ultimate goal of renovating the entire structure. Since 2009 funds have been raised and the timeline is outlined on the National Trust’s website.

Having recently opened offices in Coral Gables, Heineken hosted a boat ride from Bayside Marketplace out to the Miami Marine Stadium with Meeks and Worth on board and saying a few words about the Heineken Indiegogo campaign and the ultimate goal to raise $100,000.

The boat stopped across from the Marine Stadium for a video presentation showcased on a video screen set up at the facility. The surreal moment gave guests a close-up look at the structure in the hopes of sparking a desire to restore it to its original glory.

Both Meeks and Worth hope that Heineken’s involvement will draw support from a whole new audience to this restoration project.

“Older people in Miami have fond memories of attending events at the stadium, but it’s been closed since 1992, so a lot of Miamians in their 20s and 30s do not have a direct connection to this place,” said Meeks. “I believe that this collaboration with Heineken has the potential to put this iconic place back on the map for a whole new generation of people in South Florida.”

Worth concurs saying is it mainly inspiring young creatives like Hattie Mae Williams along with photographers, videographers, and writers who want to compose poetry at the Stadium.

“The people that kept this place alive for 25 years are the ones that have stuck this out,” Worth said, including leaders from the City of Miami and Dade Heritage Trust, both of who are frequent supporters and collaborators on the project.

Meeks becomes more inspired about the project with each visit to the Miami Marine Stadium and feels that it is one of America’s most unique and iconic places. “There truly is no other place like it, and we are committed to seeing it saved so future generations of South Floridians can form their own memories of the stadium.

And although City of Miami leaders are constantly at odds about saving and restoring the stadium, and a recent $37 million bond issue was recently shot down, there were glimmers of hope as reported in the latest Miami Herald article on the issue, which is posted on Restore Marine Stadium’s Facebook page.

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