Less lighting the beginning of a brighter future
This past Tuesday, Marathon’s City Council had a simple request for the Department of Transportation.

“Please dim the lights.”

The measure fits perfectly with the new governor’s promise to trim state government and should be considered the first step in making Marathon more than just a thoroughfare to Key West.

Currently, the institutional, standard-issue DOT light poles make US 1 look more like a landing strip than one of America’s most scenic highways and an issue that has bothered Marathon residents for years.

The move will serve as a catalyst to jump start improvements along Marathon’s main corridor and could quickly lead to other changes.

Marathon councilman Mike Cinque, who suggested the light dimming, is also polling the Middle Keys hamlet to reduce the speed limit from 45 mph to 35, which would make it legal to operate Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), like golf carts, on US 1.

Residual effects from the lowering of the speed limit would almost certainly cut down on pedestrian and bicycle accidents and make it easier roadside businesses to attract passing vehicles.

A lower speed limit could result in fewer gimmicks like roadside flags, banners, kayaks, and mannequins that are used to catch tourists’ attention. The city of Marathon should resemble a tropical getaway, not a gaudy carnival.

Creativity and Color to Characterize Pigeon Key Art Festival Feb. 12-13
Nationally recognized for its fine artists and craftspeople, the 17th annual Pigeon Key Art Festival is to transform Marathon Community Park, MM 49, into a tropically themed oasis of artwork on the weekend of Feb. 12-13.

The critically acclaimed festival is named for Pigeon Key, a small island beneath the Middle Keys’ Old Seven Mile Bridge that housed workers constructing the Overseas Railway in the early 1900s.

Each year the park becomes an open-air gallery for watercolors, oil paintings, acrylics, sculpture, jewelry, photography, graphic arts, pottery, glass and other fine art with Florida themes. Periodically during the two-day show, artists demonstrate their skills for attendees to observe.

The park’s outdoor amphitheater sets the vibe with live music, and families can enjoy food and beverages from booths offering local delicacies and sweet treats. Also celebrating the art of food, the festival is to feature a sushi roller and cake decorating demonstrations.

Other attractions include a kids’ corner and abundant open space for picnicking and listening to music.

An art raffle beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday concludes the weekend.

The 2011 festival admission is $7 per person for adults, $3 for students and free for children under age 12. Event hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with free parking and shuttles available from 33rd Street bayside.

Festivalgoers can retain their ticket stubs and use them for free admission for a ferry trip to Pigeon Key, good for one year.

Proceeds from the event are to benefit the Pigeon Key Foundation.


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