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Posted on: December 19, 2018


Photo of pigeon key ramp

KEY LARGO, FL – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners held its final meeting of 2018 on Wednesday at the Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center in Key Largo. Here are some of the highlights:

BOCC Approved Acquisition of Big Pine Key Trailer Park for Affordable Housing

The BOCC approved purchasing Howard’s Haven trailer park on Big Pine Key to redevelop for workforce housing as part of the Hurricane Irma housing recovery effort.

The trailer park consists of 20,000 square feet of property at Mile Marker 30 along the Overseas Highway. The property currently is being leased to FEMA for Hurricane Irma temporary trailers.

The property has 13 building rights for single-family units. The County plans to rebuild about 9 to 10 units as affordable housing on the property and potentially transfer the remaining building rights to future projects.

The County will apply for a Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grant to fund the $850,000 property purchase and the funding for redevelopment of this site. In the event the grant application is not successful, the Monroe County Land Authority has approved providing the purchase funding.

BOCC Received an Update on Project to Provide Temporary Volunteer Housing on County Land

Michelle Luckett, executive director of the Monroe County Long Term Recovery Group, updated the BOCC about the group’s project to provide a “volunteer village.” It will be on County property (site of the former Habitat ReStore) on Big Pine Key. The village will provide housing for volunteers who will help with the housing recovery effort following Hurricane Irma.

The recovery group is purchasing two containers that are built to house 10 volunteers each. These containers are being constructed in Maine by SnapSpace Solutions. They are scheduled to arrive in the Keys in mid-January of 2019. The 40-foot by 12 ½-foot containers will be set up on chassis to make them portable. They easily can be moved during hurricane evacuations or relocated to a more needed site in another part of the Keys.

The volunteer village is scheduled to be ready by Feb. 1. Some of the volunteers who will be housed at the village will provide skilled work (electrical, plumbing, etc.) for general contractors. Other volunteers will provide unskilled house repair and building work for the Methodist Conference and Habitat Humanity of the Lower Keys and the Middle Keys.

Funding for the Longterm Recovery Group has come from the American Red Cross, Ocean Reef Community Foundation, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Miami Foundation and United Way of the Florida Keys. Funding commitments also have been made by the United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Assistance Network. The Salvation Army also is providing the bathhouse for the volunteer village.

“This really has turned into a call to arms within the nonprofit community for those who do disaster recovery,” Luckett said. “This also highlights the importance of a volunteer workforce months and years after a storm.”

Approved Construction Contract for Pigeon Key Ramp Rehabilitation Project

The BOCC approved a nearly $2 million contract with American Empire Builders for construction of the Pigeon Key Ramp Rehabilitation Project in the Middle Keys. The ramp, which has deteriorated beyond use, connects the historical Old 7 Mile Bridge with historical Pigeon Key.

The Pigeon Key ramp was built in 1938. It is a contributing resource of the Pigeon Key Historic District. The rehabilitation project will maintain the overall appearance and design of the original structure.

A separate rehabilitation project for the 2.2-mile portion of the Old 7 Mile Bridge that leads to Pigeon Key has a tentative completion date of October 2021.

Lighting at Key West library and Key Largo library

The BOCC approved a state grant agreement for $70,200 to replace 317 antiquated, inefficient florescent light fixtures with cost saving energy efficient LED lighting systems at the Key West and Key Largo library branches. The County is providing a 10 percent match.

This will save the Key West library about $7,500 per year and it will save the Key Largo library about $6,300 per year.

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