Boating Industry

January 2016

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Page 19 of 43 20 | Boating Industry | January 2016 BY JONATHAN SWEET One of the biggest changes in the Miami International Boat Show's 75-year history takes place this year, as the show moves from Miami Beach to the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin on Virginia Key. The move has been the subject of plenty of discussion and contro- versy, with the village of Key Biscayne and others objecting to the new location, with multiple lawsuits being fi led. (See BoatingIndustry. com for more background and the latest updates) Boating Industry talked to Thom Dammrich, president of the Na- tional Marine Manufacturers Association, which produces the show, about the current status of show preparations, benefi ts of the new location and more. There's been a lot of back and forth lately, from an apparent settlement between Miami and Key Biscayne, then back to the courts again. Is there any reason attendees and exhibitors should be concerned about your ability to put on the show this year? DAMMRICH: None whatsoever. We said [last year] that there was going to be a lot of noise and this is just noise. It is having absolutely no effect on the work being done on the fl ex park, on our work being done to prepare for the show. It will have no effect on our ability to produce the show. It's political and legal maneuvering by the village of Key Biscayne. Our lawyers have said they don't believe we have anything to worry about, just keep going. From the show's viewpoint, what's the optimal solution to this? DAMMRICH: The differences between Miami and Key Biscayne go back a long, long time. This is one of many, many, many is- sues between the village and the city. It's part of a much bigger … relationship between these two entities. Would we like to see them work things out so everybody was living harmoniously? Of course we would. It was Key Biscayne that pulled out of mediation. I believe the city of Miami has been willing all along to work with the village of Key Biscayne. If this doesn't resolve between the village and the city, the show will go on and they'll continue to fi ght as they have for many, many years. So the work is on schedule and you feel confi dent everything will be ready to go come show time? DAMMRICH: The fi rst part of the park – the Western part of the park – [was] turned over to us on December 1 and [we started] con- structing … there in early December. The other half of the park will be turned over to us January 1. We have weekly meetings with the city on construction prog- ress. We have weekly meetings with the site supervisors overseeing construction. We're in constant communication on all of the things that are needed to prepare for the show. We have contracts with all of the vendors we need to produce the show. Bellingham is well along on producing all of the fl oats that we're going to need to build the temporary marina. It's business as usual for us, besides all the noise and rumors. Full speed ahead for Miami show: with Thom Dammrich

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