Marathon, Islamorada and Key Largo awarded Army Corps grant

This past Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would provide $3 million in funding towards the Florida Keys Water Quality Improvement Program (FKWQIP). This announcement comes less than two months after Rep. Curbelo (FL-26) signed a bi-partisan letter addressed to Assistant Secretary Darcy, urging her to give full and fair consideration to this critical project that directly benefits the Florida Keys.

Last month, a contingent consisting of Key Largo Wastewater District Chairman Robby Majeska, Marathon Vice Mayor Bill Kelly and Islamorada Mayor Deb Gillis traveled to Washington to lobby on behalf of the grant.

“My freezing in Washington D.C. last month paid off,” Gillis announced on her Facebook page. “This money goes for water quality projects such as sewers. Islamorada will receive $1.5 million of this money.”

Key Largo and Marathon will receive $749,000 each to complete improvements. Both Key Largo and Marathon completed their systems in 2010. Islamorada was granted a five-year extension and concluded work this past December.

“Our Congressman Curbelo deserves the credit for this victory,” said Marathon Vice Mayor Bill Kelly. “He told us whatever we needed he would help us get it done.”

In his November letter, Curbelo referred to the Keys as a “national treasure” and for water treatment standards that are four times more stringent than most other parts of the nation.

The Florida Keys Water Quality Improvement Act was passed by Congress in 2000. It approved spending up to $100 million of federal dollars on wastewater funding.

“This is a tremendous award that benefits both people and the environment. We would like to thank the U.S. Army Corps, Rep. Curbelo, Senator Nelson, and all the State Representatives who support this vital program,” said Marathon City Manager Chuck Lindsey. “Without fiscally responsible and sustainable projects, these funds would be difficult to obtain and for that I would be remised to not thank Jennifer Johnson, George Garrett, Dan Saus, and the entire city staff for their hard work and dedication to our city and the Keys.”

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