Robyn Still, Mayor of the City of Marathon, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the city.
With one meeting in December for the Marathon City Council, the agenda may not have been large, but there were some important issues discussed. One was the settlement with the Friends of the Lower Keys.
Still said, “We don’t completely agree with everything, obviously that was said in it. But looking towards the long run and long term for our community, our attorneys thought the better course of action was to go ahead and settle. So that’s what we did and moving forward, we are going to be doing a deep well. We’re considering one of few areas in the city to do that. I don’t think we’ve actually decided which area. They’re doing feasibility studies on that but we are moving forward with the deep injection well.”
The lawsuit alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act from the shallow injection wells used to get rid of Marathon’s waste near Community Park Plant. At the time, it was compliant when it was installed.
Still said, “We agreed that in the long term, the better thing was to go ahead and settle this lawsuit. I mean, you could spend who knows how much time and money trying to fight that lawsuit, but we decided it was better moving forward to go ahead and settle the lawsuit, do the deep injection well. We’re considering one of two locations. We haven’t decided on which location but that is a progress that is going to be moving forward.”
Takings cases could also be looming, including upwards of possibly 1,000 different buildable lots in the city of Marathon that could lose permit allocations.
Still said, “I know a lot of people will automatically assume that means that we would issue every single one of those building permits, but that’s not the case. We could spread out building permits over a large number of years. Our primary concern are those takings cases. If we run out of building permits, property owners are going to sue and our attorney, his opinion is we will not win those lawsuits. I think a number that he put that we could potentially face having to pay was astronomical. But the state is definitely wanting some answers from the county and the municipalities and we’re all trying to work together to figure out what the best course of action is going forward for our community for our residents. So we’re going to be working together, I just ask that people be patient with us and pay attention to the meetings, contact your county commissioners, your city council members, your commissioners if you have questions about it, contact us. But what we are concerned with is if we moving forward, don’t take what the state were to offer, if there is a takings case, then the state is going to have a defense by saying we offered these and they refused them. This is just a fluid situation. We’re working on it. I know it’s concerning for everybody. I know that affordable housing and our infrastructure is a huge concern. It’s a concern for us also, just kind of have patience with us as we try to work through this process. It’s fluid and it changes. There’s nothing settled yet.”
Marathon also took action on a vacation rental consolidation proposal. Council denied the consolidation.
Still said, “Council members denied it based on if I remember correctly that it wasn’t going to be in keeping with the neighborhood.”
Storm drainage on Sombrero Boulevard was also discussed.
Still said, “We have people who are working on that situation. We understand that that flooding is bad when it rains. We acknowledge that. We’re working on that as well to try to find a good solution for it, to where we can handle that water. This last rain event, it was awful. We understand that. But we are trying to work on a resolution. We asked for an update from our public works director and he gave an update on the progress that’s been made. I think there’s going to be a plan, and we’re going to kind of implement that plan to try to do some other things to alleviate some of that flooding.”
The homeless situation on 20th Street was also a topic.
Still said, “It is a difficult situation, and we are trying to come up with some solutions for that. There’s really no good easy answer. It’s not illegal to be homeless. 20th Street is not the ideal situation, but we don’t have a homeless shelter here in Marathon. Until we come up with a better solution, 20th Street seems to be meeting some of the needs. I know not all of the needs. I know there are still concerns that need to be addressed. I acknowledge it’s not a perfect solution. But the alternative is if they’re not allowed on 20th Street, then our homeless population could be on the side of the road, on the side of US 1, which isn’t safe for them either. So we’re trying to work through this, trying to come up with some ideas. But it’s not a perfect solution and it’s not an easy problem to address.”
There has also been discussion of making alcohol and smoking illegal in parks in Marathon. In fact, an ordinance was passed.
Still said, “That’s true. We’re trying to address some complaints that we’ve had, and we’re going to see how that works going forward.”
Some of the parks will be getting some refacing and resurfacing.
Still said, “Speaking of the basketball courts resurfacing, there’s going to be an interesting resurfacing on the 27th. Our Winter Fest that we were supposed to have had the last weekend, I think it was on the 16th and the weather messed that up for us, it was rescheduled, it’s going to be an ice skating rink. I’m very excited about that. We were able to reschedule with a company that was going to do that. I am so looking forward to coming out to watch everybody have a good time. I can only imagine how they’re going to do that. So I’m looking forward to seeing it. Visit the Facebook page for our city of Marathon Parks and Recreation. They’ll have the times for that event. It’s completely free to the public. They provide all of the equipment, you don’t have to have ice skates, they have everything that you’re going to need. So please come out and see me I don’t know that I’m going to get on the ice. I know I’m older and I acknowledge I break. So I’m not sure not sure what peer pressure will be but I plan to watch and video, but I urge everybody to come out. It should be interesting. I’ve never ice skated. Big shock I used to rollerblade. I used to live near Atlanta, and we would rollerblade in the mall parking lot, but I wasn’t as smart then. But ice skates, I’m pretty sure I’ll do just as well to applaud the ones who want to attempt it.”
The next city council meeting will be January 9 at 5:30.
Sombrero Beach playground will also be undergoing a rebuild.
Still said, “I’m really excited about this. We had a great playground there. However, the equipment that was there didn’t survive our climate. So we have a new company coming in. Our Parks and Rec Department is going to start demolition. I saw it’s supposed to be around the eighth of January and new equipment is coming in. Basically it’s going to be the kind of equipment that was put in at Children’s Rotary Park is my understanding, but it’s going to have UV sunshades like we need out there at the beach. I’m excited to see what they bring out there.”
On Christmas Eve in Marathon, Santa’s caravan will be making its way through town.
Still said, “We’ll start up at Jolly Roger around six o’clock and make our way all the way through the city. I think we end around Sombrero Beach and should be ending a little bit before nine o’clock but Santa Claus is going to be there. Mrs. Claus will be there. We’ll be making several stops. There’s some stops with milk and cookies with Santa Claus. They’ll be very quick, but there will be stops. Go to the city’s website, go to the Facebook page, the actual schedule is on there. Don’t hold us to exact times because it’s a little difficult. Sometimes we ran a little bit late last year, but come out so you can wave at Santa and Mrs. Claus. See our firefighters, the fire trucks. I’m excited to participate again this year and just look forward to seeing everybody.”