Crandon Park Tennis Center makeover on ballot
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot would serve change and potentially keep a worldwide tennis tournament in South Florida.
The Sony Open Tennis Tournament attracts thousands of people and generates millions of dollars for South Florida annually for nearly a decade.
However, tournament organizers argue that the tennis center can no longer compete with other cities, raising the possibility that, when the event's lease runs out in nine years, the Sony Open could leave Miami. "In order to stay, we've got to do a couple things," said Sony Open Tournament Director Adam Barrett, "not only build a better park for the tournament but also build a park for the community."
Organizers are urging Miami-Dade residents to vote on giving the Crandon Park Tennis Center a $50 million renovation. "It is the empowerment of the people to decide if we should build structures in the park, if we should extend leases in parks and if we should build better parks," said Barrett. "So, we're not asking for any money, we're asking for 60 percent of the voters to say they want a better park."
The makeover would include new permanent grandstands, shaded pavilions, a grassy lawn and multi-story stadium additions. "I think it's really important to showcase this event as what it is, a world class international sporting event," said former professional tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez. "It would be enjoyed by the majority of the public that can come out here and bring their children and have a picnic, go see the lake."
Tournament organizers emphasize the renovation would not cost taxpayers a penny and that the makeover would be funded through tournament generated revenue as well as cost-saving measures.
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