The Frederick Douglass Community Center is underway in Key West

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 groundbreaking for the Frederick Douglass Community Center happened on Thursday.

Johnston said, “It was just it was a wonderful community event because this facility is going to fill in a lot of gaps for our community that we’ve been working on for the past several years. One of them is addressing our youth and programs for our youth and the other need that we have in the city of Key West is addressing need for our programs for our senior citizens. This is going to do both. It’s going to be a beautiful facility that’s going to host our Bahama Village music programs. It’s going to have a learning center for tutoring and computer skills. We’re also going to have a space there for the Frederick Douglass Memorial Museum, which we’ve been waiting for a long, long time, as well as small business incubation space and adult education. So we look forward to opening that facility in January of 2025.”

Key West is also holding a memorial service to commemorate September 11th, 22 years ago.

Johnston said, “It’s such a sombering day, to again, remember those tragic events. Every year I try and come up with something new and different to say, but there really isn’t anything. It’s just the fact that we have to remember the lives lost. Remember, that we are the greatest country in the world and remember that this is a time where we all need to be kind to each other. So I guess that’s my message today.”

Key West had a budget meeting on Thursday.

Johnston said, “We did approve the millage rate that was recommended by our city manager, Al Childress. As you know, when he took the position as city manager, he committed I think in his very first meeting, he committed to holding our millage rate this year. He has held over 70 meetings with city staff, we have now had two full public meetings on the budget. We appear to be moving forward with a very, very reasonable budget that will allow us to continue to provide goods and services for our community, do the infrastructure maintenance that we need to and yet hold the line on our millage rate, which I’m very proud of. They went through every penny, they went through every tire that we were going to buy, they went through every single thing. We are eliminating 11 positions from the city of Key West that we have not been able to fill. Some of the positions have been open for two, two and a half years. So Al simply said look, if you have justification, if down the road, we have a need for that position, come back to me, we’ll talk. But right now we’ve eliminated 11 positions, which is about $891,000.”

The next meeting of the City Commission will be this Thursday.

Johnston said, “We have our first session that starts at nine o’clock and our second session, which is our ordinances, will start at five o’clock and we would welcome everyone to please join us because they’re really important meetings. This meeting we have 72 items on our City Commission agenda. We’ll be meeting as a board of adjustments also. And then we’ll be meeting as the Bahama Village Redevelopment Agency and Caroline Street Corridor with another seven items. So we make a lot of decisions on a Thursday, and we would certainly welcome your input.”

Remembrance is important today.

Johnston said, “Everyone, please take a moment and remember the lives lost and also the lives that we continue to lose because we lose about 400 people every year due to mesothelioma and related lung diseases from first responders and people that were involved in 911. So please don’t forget that sacrifices they made.”

Mike Stapleford of KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM added, “Most certainly a lot of very, very brave people that saved others at the expense of themselves. Certainly we’ll all take a moment to remember 911 of the victims that fell that day.”

For the city commission’s agenda, click here: