Plans revealed for long-promised park next to DRV PNK Stadium — but who will pay?

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Residents in Fort Lauderdale have enjoyed DRV PNK Stadium, especially with Inter Miami recently signing international superstar Lionel Messi.

But residents were also promised a community park to be built right next to the stadium.

On Tuesday, its city leaders met to review the park’s designs and discuss why they haven’t broken ground.

Renderings of what Lockhart Park will look like once it’s completed have been released, but just when the park will be completed is yet to be determined. Also, who will foot the bill?

It is a 20-acre community park Fort Lauderdale residents were promised would open a year ago, but the site where it’s supposed to be built still remains an empty parking lot outside of the stadium.

Commissioner John Herbst, who represents District 1, where the park is expected to be built, has been pushing for the project, but disagreements and ongoing mediation between both parties have pushed the groundbreaking back to at least October of 2024.

“This park is extremely important to our community. I think it is important that we deliver on this,” he said. “We went to the residents of the city of Fort Lauderdale and they committed $200 million to parks.”

The price tag of Lockhart Park is roughly $32 million, with the cost expected to be divided. Inter Miami will pay more than $19 million for a dog park, playground, grading and drainage, a paved parking lot and other amenities, while the city will cover the cost of a community center, 16 pickleball courts and a splash pad, amongst other amenities.

Those were features Inter Miami said were all new to them.

“We were not presented this, we were not included in the process, so we were a little surprised to see it not on the agenda today,” said Stephanie Toothaker, the attorney representing team owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas.

Toothaker said there are still issues to be worked through, like whether or not the city will reimburse Inter Miami for upwards of $6 million in demolition costs for DRV PNK Stadium. While they are hopeful this will be resolved in mediation, they still have yet to agree on the park design now only at 30% completion.

In prior discussions, the city has made it clear that they would be using park bond money to pay for their portion of the park.

As for Inter Miami, when asked what the next step of the process is before they can begin construction of the park, attorneys said they’ll head back to mediation.

About the Author:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.