Keys Weekly published an article on Feb. 11 about the upcoming Duval Street revitalization project, stating that consultants KCI Technologies will begin gathering public input about priorities and ideas in the coming five to six weeks. The article included an artist’s rendering of a suspended, outdoor art display as a potential option for consideration. KCI included the rendering in its proposal to the city when seeking the contract to lead the revitalization.

The proposal, which is detailed in the Feb. 11 Keys Weekly article, outlines a thorough process to solicit public input that includes traditional meetings, a three-day open house on Duval Street that will encourage people to stop in and share their opinions, and a social media campaign. 

But the public began offering input as soon as the article was posted to Facebook, with hundreds of people commenting in opposition to the outdoor art rendering.

“They didn’t even read the story,” City Manager Greg Veliz said. “They saw the image and responded as if it’s a done deal. The process hasn’t even started yet. And it will be a process. This is all about soliciting ideas, throwing out the unpopular ones and then moving ahead. “Absolutely nothing has been done or decided, and it won’t be until we hear from residents, business owners and visitors,” Veliz emphasized, likening the public outcry to “government via Facebook.”

“Everyone is welcome to contact their city commissioners with their opinions, and there will be plenty of additional opportunities for people to share their thoughts,” Veliz added.Here is a random and unedited sampling of the comments posted in response to the Feb. 11 article on the Keys Weekly’s Facebook page. They have not been edited for spelling, grammar or punctuation.

Key West attorney and business owner Michael Halpern enjoys the new pedestrian plaza he funded in the southernmost block of Duval Street, just beyond South Street. LANCE HILL/Keys Weekly

Julie Short Johnson
I think bricking the street, adding benches and shade trees and making it pedestrian only at night would be great but I’d want to keep the historic charm and quirkiness.

David Kaplan
Who’s bright idea was this? All the other historic cities I visited revel in the “historic” of the place. They don’t cover it up, paint it and redesign the very ambiance of why people visit. Please don’t give me a reason to not to want to visit Key West again.

Brian Kruszewski
AWFUL! Let KW be KW! Nothing says historic Key West like a modern shade canopy! Take this crap back to Miami!

Josh Bassett
It’s funny to see all of the people whining about ONE artists take on what could happen. Things change people, get over yourselves. Instead of the constant complaining, why not take that passion and work with the city on a way to progress forward with making improvements while keeping the charm of Key West.

Diane Bradshaw
Understand the reasons why but don’t like the idea of losing the iconic feel of Key West. Won’t feel as drawn to visit.

Scott Wolaver
Key west won’t need it as they plan to kick out the cruise ships and don’t want tourists in there city.

Diane Heck-Thill
It would not be the same anymore and sad. Leave it the way it is, this unique charm and beeing so different is what makes Key West so unique..the picture above reminds me of a modern day shopping mall. I know it’s only one idea but I believe preserving history and uniqueness is alot better. Some renovations are certainly fine..but do not change it completly..it would be a major loss for the future..

Teresa Moore Valdez
it seems like the outsiders are the ones that want to change things not those of us that were born and raised there! leave our island alone!

Crystal Barker-King
Stop with the madness!!! We visit there because of the way it is!! We love the unique historic look!!
Someone stop this

Michelle Cuilla
Leave KW just the way it is!!

Faye Graniela
Please don’t destroy paradise.

Mitchell Poulouin
LEAVE DUVAL STREET ALONE!!!!!! And I am a retired Architect!!!!!!!!

Marty Coyle
No! The more original, the better!!

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