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Court Fight Resumes Over New Miami Boat Show Location

The village of Key Biscayne is back in court in its attempt to stop the 2016 Miami International Boat Show from taking place at the Miami Marine Stadium grounds — an effort organizers say is futile.
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The village of Key Biscayne is back in court in its attempt to stop the 2016 Miami International Boat Show from taking place at the Miami Marine Stadium grounds — an effort organizers say is futile since nothing will deter the show from occurring at the park on Presidents Day weekend.

“They filed additional complaints against the city,” National Marine Manufacturers Association spokeswoman Ellen Hopkins told Trade Only Today. “It doesn’t change anything. We can’t comment on the litigation; it’s not our litigation. But we can say this isn’t going to impact the show.”

The political volleying between the town and the village has lasted for months, with the Progressive Miami International Boat Show caught in the middle. The village has hired a large Miami public relations agency to launch a media blitz smearing the show and inflating its environmental impact.

The Miami Herald reported that late Wednesday Key Biscayne’s private attorney, John Shubin, filed an amended 10-count complaint in circuit court.

“The complaint sites a slew of reasons in seeking to stop the city from building a $23 million park and event space on which to host the boat show next to the Miami Marine Stadium, including the allegation that the city’s charter required that Miami seek voters’ approval to ink a deal for the waterfront property with the National Marine Manufacturers Association,” wrote Herald reporter David Smiley.

Last week, a deal that would’ve settled all three lawsuits brought by the village — including one against the NMMA, the group that organizes the show — fell apart at the last minute.

Despite the failed deal, which seemed to put the future of the show’s location beyond 2017 into question, show organizers at the NMMA and city officials assured the industry that the show’s venue is not in question.

The settlement agreement, which had followed a few months of relative quiet amid the long and drawn-out dispute, had been drafted between the two parties in an effort to resolve the lawsuit Key Biscayne filed against Miami over plans to hold the boat show and potentially other large events at the stadium, which has languished since Hurricane Andrew slammed into it in 1992. The village has filed a lawsuit against the NMMA, in addition to the two lawsuits it filed against the city.

Despite the legal challenges, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado told Trade Only last summer that he could not envision a scenario in which the show will not take place. He says site work at the stadium park and basin is on schedule and on budget.

“This latest pleading by the village of Key Biscayne will not derail our work to make the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin the home of the Miami International Boat Show in 2016 and beyond,” NMMA vice president Cathy Rick-Joule said in an email.

“The 2016 event will move forward as planned, and we are excited to celebrate its 75-year legacy Feb. 11-15, making Miami residents and boat show attendees and exhibitors proud with one of the best Miami boat shows yet.

“As a treasured Miami tradition, the boat show is paramount to the local community and the entire recreational boating industry. We look forward to upholding our reputation as a good neighbor and continuing to deliver $597 million in annual economic impact for the state of Florida while directly supporting 6,500 Miami-Dade County jobs at our new home at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin.”

This post originally appeared in Trade Only Today, and can be found here.