Days after Marlins president David Samson climbed atop a stack of telephone books to fire back at critics of his club’s sweetheart stadium deal, residents of Little Havana are telling the Miami Herald’s Melissa Sanchez, “they feel let down by promises that they’d somehow benefit from the taxpayer-subsidized project.”
“It’s been one deception after another,” said Castro, 55. “We had to swallow all that dust during the construction phase. Our neighbors who didn’t have work then are still unemployed. And now we’re not even allowed to park on our own street.”One recent evening, hours before an exhibition game between the Marlins and the FIU baseball team, Castro and a half-dozen of his neighbors griped about the lack of parking outside their two-story apartment building, at 1452 Northwest Third Street.
The building, like many on the street, lacks its own parking lot, so residents leave their cars on the street. Back in the era of the Orange Bowl, parking was prohibited on game days but allowed the rest of the year. Now they have 10 times as many game days to look forward to.
Residents said they expressed their parking concerns during community meetings with Marlins representatives and city and county leaders. But just a few weeks ago the County’s Public Work Department eliminated the off-street parking to a create a center turn lane that stretches from 14th Avenue to 16 Avenue. Next came the parking tickets.
“Instead of giving us residential parking passes or something, we got $28 tickets,” said Adela Otero, 57.
The exhibition games last week gave another group of residents a bitter taste of what’s to come. Maria Campos is one of close to a thousand seniors who live in a complex of three public housing developments along Northwest Seventh Street, directly north of the stadium. She said it was nearly impossible for residents to get into or out of the complex because of stadium traffic and police blockades. It took some residents close to an hour to get home.
“It was incredible, you couldn’t get out or receive a visit from a family,” said Campos, who heads a residential association at Robert King High Towers. “We were like prisoners here during exhibition games…I don’t know how we’re going to survive when the Yankees come.”