The fuzzy longing for children’s soccer fields slated to occupy a county parcel behind the American Airlines Arena could be shoved aside by the memories of those with much more political muscle: Cuban exiles.
Decision-makers with the Bay of Pigs Museum & Library, the nonprofit that runs the museum’s current location in a modest Little Havana home at 1821 S.W. 9th Street, want to build a snazzy, three-level museum and library with an estimated price tag of $65 million on the controversial “Parcel B,” where plans for a county park seem to have dissolved.
“As the veterans get older, they’ve brought in a younger generation to help with fundraising to build a new state-of-the-art museum commensurate with the impact of the Bay of Pigs in the history of this hemisphere,” said Nick Gutierrez, a vice-president of the nonprofit that includes a powerhouse list of business executives, historians and Brigade 2506 veterans.
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Now, they just want a prime spot for their dream museum. It looks like county leaders could be on-board. In a July 16 proposal by commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Joe Martinez, the recreation and cultural affairs committee asked the county manager to study the impact of putting the museum on Parcel B.
Critics of the proposal flooded Eye on Miami . “I know the sacrifices made by Cubans and I know the accomplishments made by them in Miami. But celebrating one group of people in a park that belongs to all of us may seem a little unfair to those non Cubans that have also suffered, made sacrifices, left their countries and now make their homes in Miami,” said poster Harry Emilio Gottlieb.
"Our elected leaders aren't listening to us," said Milly Herrera, a community activist and Hialeah resident who would rather see a museum put in Hialeah. "Why are you going to sacrifice a piece of land that faces the bay? In another 20 years, there will be no bay left.
Gutierrez says the Cuban exile experience is fairly well-known in Hialeah and Little Havana and the bayfront spot would allow for more “cultural outreach”: “It’s accessible to the cruise lines and other visitors and the county’s not doing much with it now.” --Janine Zeitlin