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Miami soccer stadium, Palm Beach speedway, and a Wall of Hope: from Miami to Ukraine

Courtesy of Leo Soto
A Wall of Hope in Soborna Square in Lviv, Ukraine.

Miamians will be getting their soccer stadium. Meanwhile, in Palm Beach County fans are about to lose a racetrack. Plus, a local student travels to Ukraine to build a memorial Wall of Hope.

On this Tuesday, May 10, edition of Sundial:

Miami soccer stadium

Miami leaders recently voted on a big 'yes' for Major League Soccer in the city.

That means famous soccer player David Beckham and InterMiami get to move forward with their plans to build a soccer stadium at Melreese Park, next to the Miami International Airport.

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The new site will be called Freedom Park, and the plans include a stadium, hotel, retail, and parks.

The vote from commissioners took longer than expected. There was just one ‘no’ vote from Commissioner Manolo Reyes. He joined Sundial, along with Miami Herald reporter Joey Flechas, to discuss the deal.

Miami soccer stadium
Miami CF Stadium

Palm Beach could lose speedway

For 57 years, drag racing fans from around the state of Florida and the country have been going to the Palm Beach International Speedway. People of all ages gathered there to marvel at powerful machines that could go from zero to 100 miles per hour in less than a second.

"As soon as you step on the property of the race track, you just hear the rumble of engines — it kind of gets your blood flowing as you enter," Madelyn Marconi said. She has spent her life at that track.

The track used to be called the Moroso Motorsports Park until it was purchased by IRG Sports and Entertainment more than a decade ago. Now, the track is about to change hands again, but the new owners have no plans to continue racing. Instead, they want to build a 2-million-square-foot distribution warehouse.

Sundial reached out to the Palm Beach County Commission and to IRG Sports. We have yet to hear back from both.

Marconi's father has been drag racing for about 40 years, and now she’s leading the fight to keep racing in the county.

"I always say that I was basically born at that track — I was going there when my mom was even pregnant with me," she said. "I've literally grown up at that race track… Lots of memories. I met my fiancé there. Without that racetrack, my life would look a lot different. So I owe that track a lot… and I'm going to do all that I can to stand up for it."

Palm Beach could lose speedway
Leena Gade is the race engineer on the No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car. Gade's team drove to victory during this year's 24-hour Le Mans in western France.

From Miami to Ukraine, a Wall of Hope

You might remember the memorial wall that the community helped put together after the Surfside condo collapse last year.

It was located in front of the site and adorned with flowers, photos and other mementos.

Leo Soto led the effort to maintain the Surfside Wall of Hope and Memorial. Since then, he founded the Wall of Hope Foundation and has traveled around the world, giving communities a place where they can grieve after tragedy.

Courtesy of Leo Soto
A Wall of Hope across from the Ukrainian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland.

Most recently, he was in war-torn Ukraine, putting together a Wall of Hope there.

“The beautiful thing is seeing that the concept of these walls translates pretty much wherever you take it,” said Soto on Sundial. “Somebody took it upon themselves to add the picture of someone they knew and surrounded with artificial flowers as well. People add their own bouquets. People had their own artificial flowers. And it's really beautiful to see it grow organically.”

He set up two walls during his trip to Ukraine — one in Warsaw, Poland and the other in Lviv.

Soto, a student at Florida International University, is working on some local programs where his organization can help support children suffering from illness and mental health initiatives in South Florida.

From Miami to Ukraine, a Wall of Hope

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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, produces WLRN's midday public affairs program, Sundial weekdays at 1 and 8 p.m. Prior to transitioning to production, Caitie covered news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.