The Pine Channel Nature Park is ready to go – and you HAVE to see it!

August 25 — If you haven’t had a chance to stop out to see the new developments at Pine Channel Nature Park — known as the swimming hole — you won’t want to miss it. 

Michele Coldiron, Monroe County Commissioner for District 2, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM to talk about the goings on in the county. 

Yesterday the Pine Channel Nature Park had its grand opening in Big Pine Key. 

Coldiron said, “What a fabulous day. I think what made me smile the most was the fact that students from the Big Pine Academy School came. The fourth and fifth graders got to walk over and participate in the ribbon cutting and they had their lunch there. It just reminded me that this is who we work for. We work hard in our county to make sure that we have wonderful facilities for our children and our families and our community members that work so hard everyday at their job to be able to have a place then to go and enjoy nature and the whole reason why we all live here.” 

The park includes about 9,500 square feet of boardwalk leading to an 11-foot raised scenic viewing area that looks out over the ocean. 

Bicycle racks are also included, as well as a bathroom and outdoor shower area. 

Hand launches for kayaks and canoes can also be found at the new park. 

Coldiron reminded, “We do say you have to swim at your own risk, which brings up a really interesting point for me. I want to thank all of our volunteers from our Park and Rec Committee. That board has been a volunteer board for umpteen years up and down the Keys and one of the things they’ve always been concerned about is sometimes the inability of our children here to know how to swim.” 

The Park and Rec Committee and the Park and Beach Director are planing to work on swim instruction at the Pine Channel Nature Park. 

Florida Department of Transportation and the Tourist Development Council were also major partners in this project. 

The county added funding from the infrastructure sales tax. COVID actually showed that about 67% of the sales tax comes from the tourists.

Coldiron explained, “That was not our ad valorem taxes going to pay for this project. We’re very excited that the Pine Channel Nature Park is now complete and I invite everyone to come on out and enjoy this beautiful, beautiful addition to our community.” 

Mike Stapleford of KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM said, “I actually had the pleasure of running past it every day on my morning run and I’ve watched it develop. It is a beautiful, beautiful project that has come to fruition, so congratulations on that.” 

After Tuesday’s election, it certainly looks like the Monroe County Commissioners are a unified group. 

Coldiron said, “We do understand that we’re not always going to agree and an issue that might be fire-hot in Key West might not be in Key Largo, but again it just shows how we understand this is one community. One island after another connected by bridges or connected by the commissioners holding our hands together and jumping in the water and it’s like, alright we’re in this together.”

Stapleford pointed out, “It’s not always a job that gets a lot of thanks, so again, thanks to you.” 

The county also has energy assistance funds available for any low income home or family that might need some help. It could also be individuals or elderly folks. 

Coldiron reminded, “You have to remember the things you can do in your own home. Before you leave your house for the day, turn off all the lights. Maybe set your air conditioner on a different temperature so that it’s not running all day long if you’re not there.” 

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