Don’t miss the holiday fun in the Keys

Key West Mayor Teri Johnston joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the city.

The holiday celebrations continue and the menorah was lit last evening.

Johnston said, “The community really came out. We heard from both of our local rabbis and of course, Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman orchestrated the entire event, which was very, very well attended. Previously on Thursday night, we had another lighting of the menorah down at the intersection of Front Street and Duvla. Again, well attended. That one was kind of interesting, because we got a lot of visitors who were walking down to Duval Street and joined the rabbi and the celebration. So lots of lots of festivities, of course, we had the beloved lighted boat parade on Saturday evening. Today, we’re going to have the holiday luncheon for all of our employees here at the city of Key West, followed by our holiday dinner, which will be held on Saturday evening. And in between there, sandwiched in between there, we’re going to actually welcome a delegation from St. Augustine Beach and that’s les Thomas, the architect of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, and also the mayor of St. Augustine Beach, Dylan Rumrell. They are coming down. I mean, if you remember, City Manager Childress and I made a trip up there in August to see their facility because St. Augustine Beach is about half the size of Key West and they have put together an incredible amphitheater. The reason is so important to us is that it generates millions of dollars back in to their local economy and it’s also a tremendous boost for local businesses. So we’re trying to do some exchange of information and some ideas here as to how we can enhance our amphitheater to make it more enjoyable for our residents and our visitors, and also a larger boost back into the local economy.”

This Thursday is the City Commission meeting.

Johnston said, “We are going to actually meet as the City Commission and we will have 49 agenda items that we will address. We’ll then convene that meeting and we’ll reconvene as the board of adjustment where we’ve got an appeal on Hanks Hair of the Dog. That decision from the planning director is being appealed. We’ll then convene that meeting and we’ll reconvene as the Bahama village Redevelopment Committee and the Caroline Street Corridor and address a couple issues there. And then we’ll convene that meeting and then we’ll reconvene as the Naval Land Authority, and then that will be the end of our evening.”

One item on the city commission agenda is a resolution to return control of the Duval Street Pocket Park back into the city’s control.

Johnston explained that would be “for maintenance and development there. So that’s one item we’ll be addressing. We’re moving along several big ticket items. We’re continuing on with the southernmost point and there’s a wonderful design there. Right now, it floods. We’ve got severe traffic problems. We’ve got a lot of visitors who want to get their picture taken there, and they’re standing in the middle of the street. So we have a wonderful design that we’re going to take back out to the residents and to the businesses. We’re going to put the money and time into that iconic, historic site. We’re going to raise the road. There will be a traffic pattern change. We’re going to have benches so it’s more convenient for people who are waiting and try and make it a little safer and more enjoyable not only for our locals but for our visitors and for the surrounding neighborhood. So we’re moving that item forward. The Key West Housing Authority, we have an item on there for $150,000. As you may know, we are bringing The Community Development Office and responsibilities back into the city of Key West. So that item is on the agenda. We are also moving forward the Duvall street economic corridor resiliency and revitalization plan. That’s going to be a big long term plan. It’s not only raising the roads, but it’s making Duval Street more resilient, updating it. So we’re moving forward on that. Mallory Square, again, a major, major revitalization for the city of Key West in one of the most underutilized areas we’ve got. So we’re moving that forward, as well as our resiliency plan. That’s so important because we are going to get moving on our comprehensive adaptation and resilience implementation plan, which again, is so important to the city of Key West based on our low lying vulnerabilities. So we are moving forward with several major big ticket items that that will enhance Key West and will also protect Key West from the effects of climate change and sea level rise.”

Two more appointments are yet to be made to the Housing Authority Board.

Johnston said, “I will be bringing them forward probably in January and February. So I will be bringing a couple more people forward that will hopefully be a representation of our demographics and the community that we have in 2023. So look forward to those.”

It’s possible that CNN will be celebrating New Year’s Eve in Key West again.

Johnston said, “That always brings us incredible free publicity for the city. So we look forward to that. Just enjoy the season. This is one of the most beautiful times in the city of Key West and I don’t know if you’ve taken a look at the holiday lights, but our residents and our businesses go all out. So please enjoy the city.”