Fate of African-American museum on Virginia Key unclear after Ultra pulls out of area

$1 million from Ultra licensing fee was set to go toward museum

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter

MIAMI - Ultra Music Festival is leaving Miami after 20 years, and all of the money it brings in is going with it.

Ultra organizers beat Miami commissioners to the punch this week by delivering a notice to terminate its agreement with the city.

There will be no more Ultra Music Festivals on Virginia Key and no more of the $2 million licensing fee that came with it, half of which was earmarked for an African-American museum on Virginia Key.

"I think it'll be a travesty of justice if Miami-Dade County does not build an African-American museum on that site," Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon said.

Hardemon had brokered the deal that secured $1 million toward the long-planned African-American museum in historic Virginia Key Beach Park.

Pictures from the trust there document its history as Miami-Dade County's blacks-only beach during segregation. The county is sitting with $20 million for a cultural museum, but was holding back without operational funding.

"Imagine if someone told you, 'Well, we're not going to build the Adrienne Arsht Center because we don't have the operating funds just yet, but we have the money to build it,'" Hardemon said.

For now, the fate of the African-American museum remains unclear.
 

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