Dare I say it? Key West needs a community center

I get it. Affordable housing is our top priority in Key West. So what I’m about to do may be considered taboo, or even blasphemous in some circles, but I’m actually going to wax poetic on another idea that could use some funding — and it has nothing to do with workforce housing.

Before you open your laptop and begin to type out a thoughtful letter spewing with gnashing of teeth and brimstone directed at my soul (I send those to my editor, Sara Matthis, in case you are wondering) please hear me out for the next 300 words or so.

It is time for Key West to consider a modern community center, equipped with basketball courts, racket ball courts, rock climbing, weights, a pool, classrooms and event capabilities.

There. I said it. And yes, you already have 1,000 objections including — but not limited to — how we don’t have the funding, don’t have the capacity and why this is the worst idea since introducing the python to the Everglades.

Full disclosure: I love sports and I’m a parent. Also, keep in mind that my son loves the Butterfly Conservatory (his favorite), we never miss a week at the local parks and we take part in an array of outdoor activities that we probably take for granted all too often.

However, as a parent, the most common complaint I hear amongst moms and dads is the lack of recreational activities offered in Key West — not just for grade school ages, but teens too. 

Consider for a moment a recreational center that could become (a much-needed) permanent home for the Boys and Girls Club, host larger trade shows and conferences (which place heads in beds), provide local membership opportunities, offer children’s and senior’s classes, dance studios, meeting spaces; imagine it’s open to non-profits, available for aquatic uses for the high school and community, possibly a home for FKCC basketball teams (wink, wink Dr. G) and so on.

So we now have a recreational center that creates jobs, adds to the local tax base, supports our local schools, caters to the arts, aids our seniors, embraces our children, promotes our local business community and nonprofits. But I know what you’re thinking — where do we build such a monstrosity?

To be honest, I don’t know, but it wasn’t long ago that a super WalMart found enough land to park the proposed Death Star in the Keys and I selfishly believe my idea is much better than $2 off on bulk toilet paper.

For now, it’s simply my idea; a thought to store in the back of your mind that might bob up between happy hour cocktails and hangover bloodies. And yes, with every idea must come accountability. How do we fund such a project? Does it take priority over other needs? How do we sustain it once it’s built and who would govern a local community center? And who is this Britt Myers guy and why is he NOT talking about affordable housing?

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Britt Myers traded in a life of monetary success, a chiseled body and intellectual enlightenment for a piece of pie in the Keys Weekly newspapers. He is also the proud parent of an incredible four-year-old and a sucker for Michael Mann movies and convenience store hot dogs.

 

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