Things are looking good for the Florida Marlins. They signed a winner in Luis Gonzalez to a two-year deal that could give the Tampa native and former South Alabama Jaguar another World Series ring. Now they may be turning dirt for a new stadium of their own and not have to share it with the Dolphins, Florida Atlantic or the new tenant, the University of Miami.
A week of encouraging negotiations has created more optimism about the Marlins' stadium efforts. Miami-Dade County commissioners voted Thursday to give the Marlins and county officials a three-week timetable to finalize details on a retractable-roof stadium at the Orange Bowl site in Miami. "There's been substantial progress," Miami-Dade County Commission chairman Bruno Barreiro told the Miami Herald.
For months, the Marlins have been in talks with county and City of Miami officials on a $525 million ballpark with a roof at the Orange Bowl. In recent days, headway has been made in some of the sticky financing parts of the deal. Momentum started building on Tuesday, when all sides reached common ground on key issues, and negotiations have continued to move along nicely. The franchise's stadium push has gone on for more than a decade, and the general feeling now is a deal will get done, perhaps within days or weeks. Since their inaugural 1993 season, the Marlins have played at Dolphin Stadium, the home of the NFL's Miami Dolphins. Beginning this fall, the University of Miami football team will play their home games at Dolphin Stadium.
The fact that the Hurricanes have left the Orange Bowl cleared the way for the Marlins to seek a future home at that site in the Little Havana area of Miami. Though, the Marlins are under lease to remain at Dolphin Stadium through 2011.