13th Army Band concerts to highlight veterans and Miami Military Museum

13th Army Band concerts to highlight veterans and Miami Military Museum

Miami Military Museum

Two concerts by the U. S. Army 13th Army Band will highlight a tribute to veterans while serving dual purposes at the still-shuttered Miami Military Museum on Nov. 8.

With Veterans Day on Wednesday, Nov. 11, the program honors service personnel throughout the area with the public invited to attend at the museum grounds, adjacent to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum and Zoo Miami.

Concerts of approximate half-hour duration during a “Day of Great Music” will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the museum’s front lawn. Dr. Anthony D. Atwood, PhD, from Florida International University, will host veterans and families in honor of their service as well as update the public on museum activities.

Hopes for a future opening of the museum were raised on Sept. 29 with the announcement that Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss has sponsored a special resolution urging state and federal agencies to designate funding to complete restoration of the museum building that once served as headquarters of the former Richmond Naval Air Station, the world’s largest blimp base during World War II.

No specific funding amounts or resources were named in a press release from his office.

The non-profit Friends of the Military Museum that currently owns the historic building has patiently watched proposed state funding disappear with Gov. Rick Scott’s veto, the latest slashing a proposed $1 million.

As summarized by Commissioner Moss, total cost of relocation, restoration and facility preparation for opening its doors is estimated at approximately $7 million.

To date, $4.5 million has been committed, including $3 million from the county’s Building Better Communities bond program and $1.5 million from the Florida Legislature as part of the General Appropriations Act during 2013 and 2014 sessions.

“Building No. 25 brings history to life,” Moss said. “Completion of the Military Museum will result in significant historic preservation and public education and complement the Gold Coast Museum while creating an economic stimulus.”

During recent years, Moss continually has urged and negotiated with prime development firms to consider building a combined entertainment center and tourist attraction in county-owned land, adjacent to the east side of Zoo Miami.

The history of Building No. 25 continued after World War II with its use as a Central Intelligence Agency headquarters for covert action against the Castro regime in Cuba during the October 1962 Missile Crisis.

In 2010, the structure was moved from the USA Reserve grounds west of Zoo Miami to its current site at 12450 SW 152 St. (Coral Reef Drive) and placed on a new foundation for extensive restoration work, including replacement of structural members, new windows and doors and finishing the roof and exterior.

Still to be funded are purchase and installation of an elevator to serve the three-story structure, an air-conditioning system for 10,000 square feet and finishing details for exhibits of military history in Miami-Dade County.

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