September 17, 2021
After a year of hard work and constant dialogue with the community, businesses, and city officials, The Key West City Commission approved a plan that will guide the City to address affordable housing, sea-level rise, and the beautification of the island.
Under the guidance of consultant Elisa Levy, the City is poised to make some major accomplishments over the next three years with a six-point plan.
Surveys and workshops showed that affordable housing is the community’s top priority. The City’s goals are to provide up to 500 new units and lobby for tax breaks for landlords who rent to locals. Another goal is to lobby for the ability to impose a tax on second homes to alleviate the local burden.
Sea level rise was the second most important priority, according to the input from residents and the business community. The plan lays out a number of strategies for short-term mitigation projects as well as creating a long-term adaptation strategy.
Roads and sidewalks are also of concern and rose to the third priority. The plan lays out ways to improve roadways while planning for sea-level change, and it addresses ways to better maintain them so that they last longer.
Priority four is no surprise: protecting the environment. The goals outlined in the plan include building the first-yard waste composting facility, establishing mandatory recycling for business, and improving stormwater outfalls to keep garbage out of the nearshore waters.
Number five on the community’s concern list is cleanliness. Solutions will include an “Adopt a Spot” program for cleanups, adding trash and recycle bins, and working with landscape companies to address yard waste disposal.
Finally, traffic and pedestrian friendliness rose to the top of the community’s interest. One of the means of addressing this issue in the strategic plan is an on-demand transit system that allows riders to schedule pickups. There is a strategy for improving pedestrian crossings and extending the bike trail through the center of the island. It also contains a pilot program for a pedestrian-only street in Old Town.
This plan sets specific timelines for each goal and ties them to the means by which they are funded. It includes a list of major projects that will be tackled, including improvements to Bayview Park and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Pool. It has a section that specifically addresses internal communications as well as an aggressive strategy to communicate with all residents and businesses.
The Strategic Plan is vital to set the direction for the next several years. The process has involved a community survey and numerous round tables with businesses, civic groups, and citizens. And the result is a clear roadmap that ensures that the City government is following the priorities set by the community at large.