MIAMI – After hours of testimonies, presentations and debate, the City of Miami Commissioners postponed on Thursday for six days a vote on the proposal to build a new soccer stadium in the city, which is backed by former English international David Beckham.
Thursday’s decision added to the suspense over the fate of Beckham’s pet project.
“No matter what, we’re coming to Miami. Simple as that,” Beckham had told his supporters before the hearing.
Accompanied by his associates, the soccer star gave a speech to hundreds of youngsters in an attempt to convince them of his commitment to the south Florida city.
“The reason why we are bringing soccer to this great city is because we believe in you guys, we believe in these young kids here,” Beckham said from an improvised platform outside City Hall.
The former footballer has headed an intense campaign this week to win public opinion and convince the city commissioners of the merits of the “Miami Freedom Park” project for a hi-tech complex spread over 445,000 square meters (110 acres), which includes a 28,000-capacity stadium.
The complex, which could include offices, shops and hotels, is proposed to be built on what is now the only public golf course in the city, the Melreese Country Club, situated near Miami airport.
On Thursday, supporters of the First Tee Miami program, which teaches golf to children and teenagers, were present at City Hall to oppose the plan.
Many people, especially from the golf community, have opposed the project in recent days, to defend the youth golf programs being run at the project site, and have gathered 24,000 signatures against the proposed stadium.
According to the Freedom Park project, the soccer club would pay $3.5 million every year to use the land, and the group would donate $20 million to the city to help operate the park.