The Cow Key Channel Bridge at the entrance to Key West could become the Cheryl Cates Memorial Bridge. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

The Key West city commission and the Monroe County commission will ask the Florida Legislature and state transportation officials to rename the Cow Key Bridge at the entrance to Key West in honor of the late Cheryl Cates, who lost her battle with COVID-19 on Dec. 2, 2020.

If approved, the bridge that connects Key West to the rest of the Florida Keys island chain will be “officially and permanently renamed the Cheryl Cates Memorial Bridge.”

Cheryl Cates was a devoted supporter of Florida Keys nonprofits that helped local children and families. She died from COVID in December 2020. CONTRIBUTED

The Key West city commission passed a resolution seeking the name change at its Jan. 19 meeting. The Monroe County commission did the same at its meeting on Jan. 21. 

The local committee that championed the renaming includes Key Westers Peter Batty and Jim Gilleran, who wrote in their proposal to the state, “Cheryl H. Cates elegantly built bridges between people and organizations to achieve community goals. She championed the cause of improving the lives of children, and worked for decades to enhance the quality of life for all in the City of Key West.”

Cheryl Cates was married to her high school sweetheart, County Commissioner Craig Cates, who is also a former Key West mayor. 

Cheryl Cates helps swear in her husband, Craig Cates, as a Monroe County commissioner in December 2019. KRISTEN LIVENGOOD/Contributed

“It’s an incredible honor to Cheryl and our family to have her recognized for everything she has done for the community she loved so much,” Craig Cates told the Keys Weekly. “We are so grateful, and Cheryl would always say how much she enjoyed ‘connecting the dots and building bridges’ between people who need help and people who can help.”

All six Key West city commissioners and the mayor signed on to co-sponsor the local resolution.

“The Florida Legislature established the process for naming transportation facilities in memory of an individual in chapters 99-385 and 2003-286, Laws of Florida, codified at F.S. 334.071. The process requires each affected local government to adopt a resolution of support before a marker can be placed,” Monroe County spokeswoman Kristen Livengood said Friday. 

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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.