COUNTY OFFICIALS TO CONSIDER PROPERTY SWAPS & WELCOME COMMISSIONER JIM SCHOLL

Higgs Beach is in Key West, but owned by Monroe County, for now. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

Monroe County and the city of Key West soon could be trading some spaces.

When county commissioners meet on Wednesday, May 18 in Key West, they’ll discuss a potential swap of the county-owned Higgs Beach for part of the city-owned HAWK Missile site off Government Road. 

“It doesn’t make much sense for the county to own a beach in the heart of the city,” said County Commissioner Craig Cates, who’s been working with Key West City Manager Patti McLauchlin on the preliminary plans. McLauchlin told the Keys Weekly she’s long had a vision for the whole Higgs Beach area, from the Indigenous Park and Knight Pier to the dog park, beach and playground.

Additional agreements could include the city’s use of the county-owned Bayshore Manor property to temporarily house homeless people while the city rebuilds its shelter.

The now-vacant Bayshore Manor assisted-living facility may be used to house homeless residents while city officials rebuild the shelter farther down College Road.

Also on May 18…

  •  Commissioner Jim Scholl‘s swearing-in ceremony. Scholl, a former Key West city manager and commander of Naval Air Station Key West, was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to fill the seat of Eddie Martinez, who resigned in December, until the November election. Scholl has already filed paperwork to run for the seat in November.
  • Commissioner David Rice has requested an update on the Poinciana Gardens assisted-living facility, which has a new management team in place and received a financial reprieve last year from the county and the city of Key West.
  • Officials will discuss a “resolution establishing the Monroe County Employee Housing Rental Program for residential units owned by the county,” states the May 18 agenda. 

Another item includes a lease renewal for a county employee already living in a county-owned property and paying $550 per month.

  • A $99,000/year contract with Kisinger Campo & Associates will be considered for “pedestrian bridge inspection services.” It remains to be seen whether this contract relates to the historic pedestrian railway bridges that line U.S. 1. There are 23 such bridges and seven are currently closed due to partial collapses and safety concerns. 

The county commission meets at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 18 at the Harvey Government Center in Key West. A complete agenda is available at monroecounty-fl.gov.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.