Dear Residents –
I’m excited to share that North Bay Village will soon have the opportunity to pursue an exciting partnership that would result in millions of dollars of new amenities, parks, and recreational services for our residents while minimizing taxpayer expense.
The Argentine Football Association has sent the Village a bid to partner on a recreation complex, police station, community center, and dog park on the lot that currently houses the dilapidated public works building, sewer pump station, and parking lot for garbage trucks on Galleon Street.
The bid is the result of recent months of discussion between myself and the Argentine Football Association leadership, and it will now come to the full commission for the opportunity to consider the proposal on November 2.
The proposal, which can be found on next week’s Commission agenda (Agendas Minutes), offers the following for the city:
- Several state-of-the-art, illuminated sporting fields at the soon-to-be-constructed NBV Community Park at Treasure Island Elementary School
- A new building on the Galleon Street public works yard to replace the current dilapidated building, to house:
- A community center for NBV residents,
- Office space for our public works departments
- Public bathrooms
- A to-be-designed space for a new police station for our police force
- Sporting facilities including multiple courts shared with NBV residents
- A plug-and-play after school program for North Bay Village children, run by the Argentine Football Association at no cost to the village or its residents
- A new dog park for NBV residents on Treasure Island
The field behind TIES is the largest open space in North Bay Village, but it’s in poor shape. This proposal would allow us to fast-track the improvement of that space and the remaining green spaces around TIES, converting it all into a community facility that would be the envy of surrounding cities.
How much will it cost? I believe this is a very good deal for taxpayers. All in, the investment in the city by AFA will amount to many millions of dollars of savings to NBV taxpayers.
Of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. In exchange for their long term investment in our city, North Bay Village would provide AFA with:
- A license to operate as the village provider of recreational services, including operation of the “AFA/NBV Center for Excellence”, a youth soccer program for kids throughout the area. Many NBV kids will have access to scholarships to the academy, and all NBV families will receive discounts. The city will receive a share of the revenue from the operation of the academy.
- A field-sharing and usage agreement will be determined (to be approved by the Commission) which will allow for both AFA programming and residents to have constant access to the many facilities paid for by AFA. This includes the fields to be funded by AFA as well as court installations on Galleon Street. Certain spaces will be reserved 24/7 for residents.
What comes next?
The Commission will review the proposal at the Commission meeting on November 2, 2021, and make a “yes or no” decision as to whether to advance or reject the bid.
If the Commission decides to accept the bid, a Request for Proposals will be issued to allow other potential partners to submit a superior bid for similar amenities and services. Any proposal received would then be evaluated alongside the AFA proposal to make a decision on how to move forward.
If the Commission decides not to accept the bid, everything remains as is in the village.
Does this proposal detract from the public spaces at the new TIES Park?
No. The Commission has selected and funded a project at TIES that does not include refurbishment of the athletic fields. This partnership allows the city to move forward with a much-improved version of the NBV Community Park at TIES, rather than a scaled-down version, providing amenities for the community which will not be funded if the city acts alone, using only taxpayer-provided funding.
Since the additional facilities are paid for by AFA, there will be times when some of them are designated for specific use and not publicly available. These hours are likely to be largely when citizen use would be limited, such as for the after-school programs in the early afternoon.
Residents will have access to some facilities at all times and will have access at all times the park is open to the trails, green spaces, playgrounds and other facilities to be created at the park at TIES.
This proposal is soccer-heavy. I prefer other sports. What is being done?
The fields funded by AFA are proposed as soccer fields first, but as with any field can be used by school kids and the community for wide recreational purposes.
The AFA proposal is soccer-heavy because AFA is a soccer organization. It’s possible during the RFP period that other partners, perhaps the Denver Broncos or New York Yankees, for example, respond with projects specific to other sports. If that happens, those proposals will be evaluated by the Commission and the most favorable proposal for villagers will be selected.
In general, while kids undoubtedly like many sports, North Bay Village clearly has a solid group of kids who enjoy soccer, with over 50 kids currently signed up for our Saturday Soccer program.
What services will be moved to the proposed new building?
North Bay Village remains one of the only cities in Miami-Dade County to not have its own village hall space. Between public partnerships at Galleon Street and the Sakura lot on the Causeway, we plan to remedy this in the coming years.
It’s projected that the Galleon Street building would house a community center with a robust Parks and Recreation Department – something never before seen in NBV –, the police station and dispatch, as well as public works. This will help relieve the potential intensity of use at the projected Sakura development, lessening uses projected on Harbor Island.
What are the Argentine Football Association’s plans for the partnership?
Beyond financing and building the project, AFA would like to provide youth athletic programming from the Galleon Street site. They would have offices and installations in the building along with NBV.
AFA would use the fields (at times some, at times all, at times none – all still TBD) to provide for-pay youth soccer services to the Miami-Dade community. NBV kids would have a generous allotment of scholarships, and all NBV residents get a discount. At certain times of day, the same AFA staff will provide a free-of-cost after-school soccer program for NBV kids.
Further, AFA proposes to build and operate sports courts on the Galleon Street property. Some of these facilities would be available free of charge to NBV residents at times, though I have relayed a preference for a dog park over additional courts for the usage of residents. Additionally, at times, some of the sports fields would be available for rent to the community at large through the NBV/AFA partnership, with NBV receiving a share of profits. The fields will otherwise be open to use by the NBV community, and other facilities at the park will be open during all park hours, regardless of the field usage agreement.
My main concern is parking. How will this be sorted out?
The Village is in process of establishing a regulated parking system on Harbor Island using new technology. This system will be extended to this zone of Treasure Island. Along with restriping, additional parking on-site, and improved accessibility to the parking lots at TIES, the project should be designed with measures to help alleviate parking issues on Treasure Island.
What happens if the Commission decides to proceed?
The process moves to the open bid RFP stage.
What happens if the Commission decides not to proceed?
The status quo is maintained, and discussions would be programmed and prioritized on how to finance and build sports facilities at TIES, a community center, a police station, a dog park on Treasure Island, as well as how to manage the dilapidated building and facilities currently on the Galleon Street lot, in the coming years or decades rather than in the short term.
How do I have my say on this project?
I’d like to hear your feedback as we begin the process of reviewing this massive undertaking. Please email me at email@example.com, or use social media or call me at 786-390-6267 to let me know what you think!
You can also attend the Commission meeting at Village Hall on November 2.