Friday, October 5, 2007

It's Your Vote

Now that the Key West City Commission has approved the conduct of a referendum at the November 6 run-off municipal election, BCCLT is mashalling its resources to ensure that the referendum, which grants a long-term lease on 6.6 acres of the Truman Waterfront for the construction of its long-dreamed Bahama Conch Village at the foot of Petronia Street.

Voters approved a similar lease for the Assisted Care Living Facility (ACLF) being planned by the Florida Keys Assisted Care Coalition. The FKACC referendum passed by a better than two-to-one margin, following a very effective lobbying campaign by the FKACC. If the BCCLT referendum is approved, it will make neighbors of two unique facilities at the edges of what is destined to become the jewel of Key West parks. The ACLF will allow Key West senior citizens to age in place in the Southernmost City instead of having to leave the homes that sustained them in their lives. The Bahama Conch VIllage puts a mixed-use village of small retail shops, educational facilities, recreational facilities, and 60-70 units of affordable housing on land that integrates the legacy of Bahama Village within the property that was seized from their ancestors, and that provided good jobs to its residents through the years of the two World Wars and much of the Cold War.

FKACC provides some affordable housing as a part of their development proposal. All of the residential units in Bahama Conch VIllage will fall into that category. BCCLT's proposal includes elements of economic opportunity to small-business entrepreneurs, job training programs for the youth of Key West, programs and facilities for artists, and recreational programs for all of the children of the city.

Even with these two projects, up to 80% of the property will still be park land, green space for all citizens to enjoy and a showcase for tourists of a significant element of the culture of this place.

Time grows short. The referendum will appear on the November 6 ballot. It requires only a majority vote of the electorate to be approved.