Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 00:39:51 -0400
Sender: Taino-L Taino interest forum <TAINO-L@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU>
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Subject: TAINO-L Digest - 28 Nov 1999 to 30 Nov 1999 (#1999-126)
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Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 14:15:04 -0500
From: "Ms. Beverly Carey Torres" <titc@DANDY.NET>
Subject: County Will Get Loan For Circle (Miami Florida)
County will get loan for Circle
Deal for purchase expected to
be completed today
By Don Finefrock email@example.com
Tuesday, November 30, 1999
With time running out to save the Miami Circle, the Miami-Dade Commission
agreed Monday to borrow $8.7 million to buy the riverfront property and
preserve the ancient stone carvings discovered there last year.
Barring any last-minute glitches, the county expects to complete the $26.7
million deal today with the property's owner, developer Michael Baumann.
Title for the 2.2-acre property at the mouth of the Miami River will be
transferred to the state of Florida, which is contributing $15 million
toward the purchase price. The county is contributing $3 million from its
Safe Neighborhood Parks bond program.
The rest of the money will come from the Trust for Public Land, a national
land conservation organization based in San Francisco.
The trust agreed two weeks ago to lend the county $8.7 million so it could
buy out Baumann. The county had until today to buy the property or make a
down payment of $20 million to preserve the carvings.
Experts believe the Circle was carved about 2,000 years ago by Tequesta
Indians who lived in South Florida.
Seven commissioners -- the minimum needed for a meeting -- voted unanimously
to accept the trust's offer, despite concerns about the extra cost and the
The loan, at 8.5 percent interest, could add $1.5 million to the final cost
of the deal, county officials told commissioners.
The agreement also puts the county in an uncomfortable spot. The county must
now raise $8.7 million, or repay the loan itself. The first $2 million is
due in one year. The remainder is due in two years.
"In effect, we are going on the hook for $8.7 million, Miami-Dade Mayor
Alex Penelas said.
But commissioners had little choice.
If the county had walked away from the deal it cut two months ago with
Baumann, the developer could have sued the county to recover legal fees and
others costs associated with the delay of his proposed high-rise project.
After reviewing the county's options, Commissioner Miriam Alonso said she
felt as if she had a knife in front of her and a knife behind. Whichever way
she moved would be painful, she said.
"It is a very painful experience that I have right now, Alonso said.
As the deadline neared, Baumann had offered to lend the county the full $8.7
million himself -- but at 12 percent interest.
Penelas and county officials pitched the trust proposal as the best choice.
"What this is doing is buying us time, said George Burgess, special
assistant to County Manager Merrett Stierheim.
Penelas and Burgess said the county's fund-raising efforts should bear fruit
shortly. County officials are seeking contributions from the Jay I. Kislak
Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Kresge
Penelas said the Kislak Foundation has agreed in principle to provide $2
million for the land. The foundation previously had expressed interest in
funding a Circle museum.
County officials have applied for $1 million in federal transportation money
from the local Metropolitan Planning Organization and they are exploring the
possibility of tapping federal funds for land conservation.
"Although we do not have hard commitments from any of these efforts, all
indications are we will be getting some very good news from several of these
sources within the next several weeks, Penelas said.
(C) Miami Herald
HOW TO HELP
Contributions to help save the Miami Circle can be sent to the
following address. Checks should be made payable to the Miami
Circle Trust Fund.
Miami Circle Trust Fund
Office of Management and Budget, Suite 2710
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 NW 1st St.
Miami, FL 33128
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