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Miami-Dade Commission Approves $5M For Arsht Center Repairs

MIAMI (CBS4) - Miami-Dade Commissioners approved a $5 million payout to make the necessary repairs to the Adrienne Arsht center after it suffered major damage during a May deluge.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez requested approval of the payment during a June meeting, but the vote was delayed until Tuesday.

According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, $5 million dollars is needed to meet the county's insurance deductable on the county-owned Ziff Ballet Opera House. While the final cost is still unknown, what is known is that it will far exceed $2.15 million

The opera house sustained major damage the night of May 20 when, during a performance of The Lion King, water began pouring through the lights and ceiling, flooding the lobby. More than 2,500 theater-goers had to be evacuated.

John Richard, president of the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, blamed a faulty pipe from the roof's drainage system, saying that night's downpour caused the rupture inside the Ziff Ballet Opera House.

Richard said the failure came from an elbow joint connecting two sections of 12-inch steel pipe above a top-level bathroom. The pipe carries rainwater from the roof drainage system to the sewer below, and Richard said it was designed to handle more water than Sunday night's downpour created. The joint itself "wasn't secured, and it came apart," he said.

The original joint has been there since the $470 million center opened in 2006, Richard said, and he could not explain why it failed Sunday night and not during earlier downpours. "It should have functioned correctly,'' he said. "It didn't."

An investigation has been launched to determine who, if anyone, is at fault.

The county gives the Performing Arts Center Trust $7.65 million annually as a subsidy to cover operations. The money for repairs could come from that money, or from other tax collection funds.

Gimenez is urging commissioners to make a decision quickly, so the necessary repairs can be made before the fall theatre season, which begins in October.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)


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