The season is upon us in Key West and it’s going to be busy

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 National Offshore Thunderbolt races are in town.

Johnston said, “It’s a great crowd that we welcome back. We kicked it off on Sunday and I believe the schedule calls for racing on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. So officials from the city of Key West including myself will be out there tomorrow with the opening of the race team meetings. It’s always good to meet everyone, wish them well and have a safe week.”

There will be 72 teams from around the country and around the world.

A city commission meeting will be held Thursday. The morning session begins at 9 a.m. and the afternoon session starts at 5 p.m.

The agenda is here:

Johnston said, “We have 46 items to get through here on our City Commission agenda. Then we’re going to meet as the CRA and also meet as the LRA. So we’ve got three meetings that we’re actually going to be partaking in.”

The mayor’s appointments to the Housing Authority Board will be discussed. Thaddeus Cohen, the former city planner, will be replacing a retired member of the housing authority. Robert Cintron, a local city attorney, will be replacing Robert Dean on the board.

Johnston said, “On the afternoon session we’re going to have a discussion about the AT&T fiber outage. Because that just occurred. It is not necessarily a real common thing, but when it does occur, it creates lots of problems for every municipality, and particularly the city of Key West, where you can’t reach the 911 number. It impacts the health and safety of residents who need emergency medical care. So we need to find a solution so that we do not have an interruption in our communications, like we have experienced in the past. So Al has been meeting with officials from AT&T and the other services to find a way that we can continue consistent communications, particularly for the health and welfare of our citizens. So we’ll be having that conversation.”

The beautification of the triangle has begun.

Johnston said, it is to “improve the entry into our great city and that will be ongoing. We’ve had a couple of different workshops to meet with our residents to find out what do you want the entrance of Key West to look like? We will be doing some terrific landscaping out there. We actually increased the scope to include irrigation so that that landscaping stays lush. We’ve got a couple entry structures out there that we’re going to be putting in. So thank you everyone for your patience, because it’s going to be well worth it. When you’re talking about traffic coming in there, we have a resolution on our agenda on Thursday that supports the installation of another light there at College Road, right across from Murray Marine and Sheriff Ramsey has been a major proponent of that, the county supports that. We support that. Now it’s really just getting FDOT to support that. It’s one of those situations where we had it temporarily and it worked terrific. It really spaced out the traffic coming into the city of Key West to eliminate those long wait times and it makes a lot of sense. So we’re hoping that FDOT will heed the wishes of the county and the city and put another light there.”

Artificial turf will be put on DeWitt Roberts field for about $850,000.

Johnston added, “We’re going to buy a new street sweeper which hopefully will keep our streets not only Duvall Street, but also our residential streets clean during the week. Another important agenda item that we’re going to be discussing is the Move-In Assistance Program. We have talked about this for a while, but we are moving $250,000 in order to help our residents of all categories, all income categories, up to 140 percent of AMI, with first and last month’s rent. This is a low interest loan program that gets people in, allows them to get settled. Because with the prices of our rentals, it’s a really heavy hit when you are requested to pay first and last month’s rent and one month’s deposit to get into a unit. So we’re going to be approving that program.”

Code compliance has been handing out notices about signs on property, but what about campaign signs?

Johnston said, “There is a special area where you can have campaign signs up. Joyce gives you the timeframe that they can go up. They cannot be in the city right away. They have to be on private property. They have to be on property where the owners have requested a sign. Then the signs normally, and I don’t know if there’s a law, but most candidates have their signs down the day after the election. Because people have been very kind to allow you to have their sign in their yard for several months and so most candidates get them down right after. I just want to talk about that the ordinance. We are basically enforcing an ordinance that we have had in place for a long, long time, and have really not consistently enforced it. So now we are we are enforcing it. It’s another facet of keeping Key West beautiful is to get rid of some of the visual clutter that we’ve got out there and illegal placing of signs.”

Things will be active in the coming weeks in Key West.

Johnston said, “We have really started season. The boat races started on Sunday. Of course we have our Veterans Day Parade, which is one of our most special parades, on Saturday, November 11 and that starts at 4pm on Duvall Street. We’re going to have the tree lighting at Bayview Park on November 27 at 6pm. World AIDS Day walk is going to be December 1 at 4:30pm. The Holiday Parade then follows that up on December 2 at 7pm along Truman and White. Then we’re going to have the lighting of the menorah in Bayview Park on December 10. So we are heavy into season right now.”