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Miami Science Museum Funding Signals End of Bicentennial Park as a Music Venue

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While we were all raving at Bicentennial Park this past weekend, Miami's most generous couple, Patricia and Phillip Frost, donated $35 million toward the construction of the new Miami Science Museum to be erected adjacent to the Miami Art Museum in what is presently known as Bicentennial Park.

If you attended Ultra this year, you already experienced the effects that the construction has had on the park, including a loss of 6,000 square feet of space and a grassless terrain that left a coating of dust on both the stage equipment and revelers.

Until the Frosts' donation was made, nobody was sure when the science museum would get built, leaving enough room for events like Ultra Music Festival and Best of the Best to continue undisturbed for at least another year.

However, the $35 million now adds legitimacy to the fundraising campaign and more donations will certainly follow. Already halfway to the $100 million goal means that some of the $175 million bond money approved by voters might be released, allowing for construction to begin later this year.

So what does this mean for music events at the soon-to-be-renamed Museum Park? Plans call for well-manicured lawns and landscaping, probably not meant to take an Ultra-size beating. We could see smaller events happening at the park. But for now, Ultra may have to return to the warm embrace of Bayfront Park if it wants to stay in downtown Miami. (In several conversations with cofounder Russell Faibisch, he insists organizers are committed to keeping the festival in downtown.)

Don't get us wrong, this city deserves two world-class institutions like the Miami Art Museum and the Miami Museum of Science. And let's not forget, the city will also gain another Herzog & de Meuron-designed structure, which will only add to the grandeur of Biscayne Boulevard. But it saddens us a bit to know that we are losing one of the city's best festival locales. Surely, there is another spot in the city for a multi-use park the size of Bicentennial. Perhaps the site of the old Miami Arena?

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