Gold-painted shovels and city officials in hard hats marked the official groundbreaking on Dec. 10 of 103 workforce-housing apartments on College Road.
The ribbon cutting with giant scissors will take place in a year or two, when close to 200 working residents move into the city’s new affordable Garden View Apartments, which are, appropriately, next to the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden.
“For the first time in some time, affordable housing is not just a discussion item on an agenda or a line item on a spreadsheet. Today it becomes a reality,” City Manager Greg Veliz told the small crowd gathered at the construction site on Dec. 10.
Members of the Key West City Commission, the Monroe County Housing Authority, Sheriff Rick Ramsay and other local officials posed for photos as they ceremonially broke ground on the new neighborhood that will accommodate local workers earning low and very-low incomes.
The city-owned properties that formerly housed the old mosquito control facility, the SPCA and Easter Seals were demolished and new construction will begin on the site. The new units will run about 650 square feet, and the project includes parking for 125 cars as well as bike and scooter parking, said city spokeswoman Alyson Crean.
With an estimated cost of about $27 million, the project will rely on state Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Relief funding and the Housing Authority’s borrowing capacity as well as the Monroe County Land Authority.