Beckham's MLS stadium facing delays

MIAMI • David Beckham's Major League Soccer (MLS) club in Miami may have hit a new stumbling block after a report showed unexpected levels of contamination at a proposed stadium site, the Miami Herald reported.

The newspaper said on Monday the analysis found arsenic contamination at more than twice the legal limit as well as hazardous debris in surface-level soil at Melreese Country Club.

The 131-acre site near Miami airport has been put forward as Inter Miami's permanent home, with a sprawling US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion) complex planned.

The report was alarming enough that Miami City manager Emilio Gonzalez on Tuesday ordered the closure of Melreese golf course, Miami's only city-owned course.

"This is the largest contaminated park in the city's portfolio," said Miami City Commission chairman Ken Russell, who added that "this is a concern".

The Herald reported that the analysis by environmental firm EE&G, hired by Inter Miami, found that 140 soil samples taken in recent months showed not only elevated arsenic levels but also barium and lead above legal limits. Much of the pollution apparently came from a now-defunct municipal incinerator.

It was not immediately clear if the cost of additional cleaning would make plans for the stadium complex unfeasible.

Inter Miami officials have in the past estimated the cleanup would cost in the range of US$35 million.

The club is due to launch in 2020, with plans to build a stadium in time for next season in neighbouring Fort Lauderdale.

The plan had been to use Lockhart for two seasons until the permanent home at Melreese Country Club is completed.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2019, with the headline 'Beckham's MLS stadium facing delays'. Print Edition | Subscribe