September 12, 2023 - From September 18th through October 6th, specialized trucks with the name “wood” on the side will be driving Key West streets collecting LiDAR data to evaluate the city’s road elevations. LiDAR stands for Light Imaging Distance and Ranging and will enable the City to better plan, prioritize and budget elevation projects by vastly improving its street elevation data. The effort is part of a larger strategy to strengthen and harden the City’s infrastructure and facilities in accordance with anticipated sea level rise as well as storm surge and flooding. Staff is already preparing to use the data to further stormwater, tidal, and sea level rise planning projects.
“We want the citizens of Key West to be fully informed about our efforts to protect the City and anticipate future areas of concern,” said Key West Sustainability Coordinator Alison Higgins. “These maps are important groundwork for our upcoming Climate Adaptation Plan.”
Wood Environmental and Infrastructure Solutions Inc. has performed LiDAR surveys for Monroe County and all other incorporated areas, working north to south. In Key West, Wood will evaluate 72 miles of road and the first floor elevations for critical facilities. Wood crews will be setting up the control survey for Key West in mid-September, by either painting or taping temporary arrow-like markings onto City streets. These markings are used to help the scanner match images together to enable a centimeter’s accurate picture of our road elevations.
To stay up to date on the City’s Climate Adaptation Plan, go to www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov and look for the notify me button. From there you can sign up to receive updates via email.
September 11, 2023 - City officials and the community gathered on Friday to kick off the construction of the new Frederick Douglass Community Center with a groundbreaking ceremony.
The project will replace the entire wing off the Douglass Gym, located in Bahama Village on Olivia Street.
This $8 million dollar project will house the renowned Bahama Village Music Program, providing a platform for budding musicians.
The center's design will accommodate sports, art, learning, and social activities. It will host after-school tutoring, adult education, nutrition education, and small business incubation. This hub will feature a learning center, a senior activity area, a 2,600 square foot main hall, and an event kitchen.
The Community Center is expected to be up and running by January of 2025.
September 8, 2023 - The City of Key West, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West, and Monroe County will be holding a joint emergency response exercise on Wednesday, September 13th at the Truman Waterfront. Emergency responders from several agencies will be on hand that morning to train with a virtual scenario.
This exercise is one of several held throughout the year to ensure that all agencies are coordinated in case of an actual emergency.
August 30, 2023 - It’s time to plan your float for the upcoming Key West Holiday Parade on December 2nd!
Floats can be of any length but must be maneuverable and no more than 15 feet wide and 12 feet high. Each entry requires monitors. The number of entries is limited to 55.
Entry forms must be received by no later than Monday, November 21st at 4 p.m. The parade takes place on Saturday, December 2nd beginning at 7 p.m. at the corner of White Street and Truman Avenue.
Applications and details are available on the City’s web site at http://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov under special events or you can call Maria at 305-809-3881.
In advance of possible localized flooding from Tropical Storm Idalia, the City of Key West is adjusting bus service in the community on Tuesday and Wednesday August 29-30. The Lower Keys Shuttle, Workforce Express, and the Key West Rides transit service will modify its service to avoid streets that typically flood. Since the Duval Loop route mainly encompasses areas that are subject to flooding, all service will be suspended.
The modifications are as listed:
Lower Keys Shuttle Normal Hours 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Detours – (Inbound into Key West) Normal route until you reach Palm Ave. The bus will instead continue on North Roosevelt Blvd. to Truman Ave. making a right onto Simonton St., then making a left onto Caroline St. resuming the normal route.
Work Force Express – Normal Hours 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., then 3:40 pm to 8:30 pm. (Inbound into Key West) Normal route until you are northbound on Whitehead St. Instead of entering Bahama Village at Petronia Street, the bus will make a right turn on Angela Street then making a right turn onto Simonton St proceeding to Truman Ave and making a left turn to resume the normal route.
Key West Rides – Normal Hours 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Normal service; however, pick-up and drop-off stops will be adjusted to avoid flooded streets.
Duval Loop –ALL SERVICE SUSPENDED
The City of Key West is in a heightened state of monitoring as we remain under a tropical storm watch. Tropical Storm Idalia may further disrupt normal transit bus service operations. For more bus information, visit the City of Key West website at Key West Department of Transportation (KWDoT) | Key West, FL (cityofkeywest-fl.gov) or www.kwtransit.com.
As summer continues to bring dangerously high heat to the Keys, the City of Key West wants to remind residents and visitors to be aware of signs of heat distress.
In extreme heat your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature, which can lead to death. In fact, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. For more information, visit www.ready.gov/heat.
Remember: Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning. Older adults, children and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat. Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index. Pay attention to the warning issued by NOAA.
When under an extreme heat warning, find air conditioning, avoid strenuous activities, drink plenty of fluids, and wear light clothing.
Check on family members and neighbors, and never leave people or pets in a closed car.
It’s also important to know the signs of heat-related illness and how to respond. Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms or legs are a sign of heat cramps. Get to a cooler location and remove excess clothing. Sip cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. If the cramps last more than an hour, get medical help.
Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea, vomiting are clear signs of heat exhaustion. Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing and take a cool bath. Hydrate with cool sports drinks containing salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
Heat stroke is the most dangerous condition. Symptoms include high body temperature exceeding 103 degrees; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; and dizziness, confusion, or unconsciousness. With these symptoms, call 911 immediately and cool down the person’s body any way available until help arrives.
Heat distress can sneak up suddenly with dire results. Please take precautions to ensure your safety.
Mayor Teri Johnston last week represented Key West in Tampa on a panel at the first conference focused on the Florida LGBTQ tourism industry: the Florida Out Coast Convention (FLOCC).
She was joined on the panel by Visit Lauderdale CEO Stacy Ritter and Visit Tampa Bay CEO Santiago Corrada, along with representatives from the American Hospitality & Lodging Association Foundation, the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, and the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association.
FLOCC is primarily educational and offers several opportunities for networking within Florida’s tourism and LGBTQ leadership community. FLOCC is designed to help communities and businesses better understand the specific needs and challenges around LGBTQ tourism topics.
Mayor Teri Johnston and the Key West City Commission commended the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at Florida International University for its recent national recognition.
The Center started working with small businesses in the Keys in 2018. The team of highly experienced consultants provides assistance and training to entrepreneurs and business owners in the City of Key West and Monroe County to help them start, grow, and succeed.
FSBDC at FIU work one-on-one with small businesses providing startup assistance, access to capital, marketing, financial management, government contracting, human resources and business strategy advising.
The Center has delivered more than 2,215 hours of consulting to 223 Key West small businesses, resulting in business owners securing over $18.4 million in capital, securing $7.3 million in government contracts, increasing sales by $8.6 million, impacting 1,548 jobs, and launching 13 new businesses.
In April, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced SBDC at FIU as the winner of the 2023 Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award, which recognizes the country’s top small business center.
Regional Director Brian Van Hook accepted the honor with consultants Nancy Hull, Bonnie Barns, and Julie Brown. They were joined on the dais by Nick Formico, owner of Key West Marine Hardware who is the Center’s Keys Client of the Year.
“We talk about numbers on a page but its actually all about the business owners,” said Van Hook. “Nick here was our Client of the Year. And that’s what we’re all about, helping local business owners.”
They’re doing it again! The Miami Marlins are supporting the Key West Police Athletic League by proclaiming the August 27th as Key West Night. During the July meeting, Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission proclaimed August 27th as Miami Marlins Day.
The August 27th game pits the Marlins against the Washington Nationals, and it’s the third year in a row that the Marlins have supported PAL with a special Key West Night. Key West residents will receive a special ticket price, and $5 of each ticket will be donated to PAL.
At that game, City Manager Al Childress will throw out the first pitch. At half time, a group of Key West kids will join Marlins’ mascot Billy on the field during the seventh inning stretch to sing “Take me Out to the Ballgame.”
Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman has worked with Florida Keys Media’s Rick Lopez each year to make this happen, noting that Key West has always been a baseball town.
Tickets are available on the Miami Marlins’ website at: https://www.mlb.com/marlins/tickets/specials/key-west
PAL’s programs are designed to get children involved in sports and in educational programs. It provides a safe place where kids can go after school and on weekends. It encourages teamwork and strong self-esteem. PAL supports computer classes after school and provides entertaining and educational camps during the summer and on holidays.
Mayor Teri Johnston and the Key West City Commission have proclaimed July as Recreation and Parks Month.
The declaration dovetails with recognition countrywide by the National Recreation and Park Association as well as the Florida Recreation and Park Association.
“Parks and recreation programs enhance our quality of life by contributing to healthy lifestyles, building community, creating economic development, and encouraging environmental stewardship,” reads the proclamation. In addition, they “boost the economy, enhance property values, attract new business, increase tourism, and reduce crime.”
Recreation helps build “family unity, strengthens neighborhood involvement, offers opportunity for social interaction, enhances education, develops creativity, and promotes cultural diversity.”
The honor was accepted by Tiffany Pellicier, Chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and Roger McVeigh, Vice Chair.
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