Come one, come all

The Truman Waterfront Advisory Board will meet Monday, March 20 and welcomes all residents of Key West to weigh in on the final stages of the new Truman Waterfront Park. The board has helped oversee planning and development of the park since 2009 and has welcomed the views and opinions of the public to shape its recommendations to the city commission.

The Truman Waterfront is a vacant, waterfront parcel that the City of Key West is developing into a public facility. Proposed plans call for an amphitheater and green space.

The advisory board is made up of local volunteers who know the Keys, know the community and want what’s best for everyone. They are eager to listen to concerns and mainly want to provide correct information so residents have a voice in building and developing the waterfront. Here’s what the members have to say:

1. Chairman Robert Cintron Jr., attorney, appointed by Commissioner Clayton Lopez, has served two years.

“My objective has been to do whatever I could to ensure the park gets constructed as quickly as possible given how many years have transpired already. I am a firm believer in going overboard with getting information out there. The park and amphitheater will be in existence sooner than people think; then a lot of doubting may go away. Now we need people to weigh in on creating the rules and guidelines for operating the park and amphitheater – we need the input from the public before its too late.”

2. Ricky Arnold Jr., owner of Arnold’s Towing, was appointed by Commissioner Margaret Romero and has served one year.

“I am about reducing cost and not spending money to redo things. I am glad we brought the amphitheater from 7 million to 4 million dollars and didn’t spend $500,000 to cut the Quay wall. Now, I am working with Grimal Grove to try and build a fruit tree garden with native plants and maintaining a dog park. I am five generations here, and I am active in solving, not just complaining about, problems.”

3. Jim Gilleran, owner of 801 Bourbon Bar, who was appointed by Commissioner Billy Wardlow, helped to form the board and has been involved in Waterfront planning since 1988.

“My primary role is to get the information out there, maintain transparency and follow a declared wish list of the citizens. My biggest interest is maintaining recreational green space, especially sports fields, beneficial to Bahama Village and all residents.”

4. Colleen Mellies, retired letter carrier, was appointed by Commissioner Samuel Kaufman and has served one year.

“I want the community to tell me what they want, even if it goes against my own choices. My role is about representing residents’ voices. The board is a venue for residents to hear the facts but also to have their concerns heard by the city. We have a great board with a variety of opinions, but so we need everyone to come to the table before they hold signs.”

5. Ben Volpian, retired businessman, was appointed by Commissioner Richard Payne and has served two years.

“The board still has quite a bit of value with the development. I am working on blending the existing architecture such as building 103 and keeping more green space with less building development. I especially don’t want to see buildings on the Petronia Street field it is an invaluable asset for Bahama Village and the community.

6. Tim Atwell, of Historic Tours Association, was appointed by Mayor Craig Cates and has served 3 months.

“We listen to the public and give recommendations. I look at the waterfront project as a whole and we do a good job at being unbiased.”

7. Al Sullivan, of Hospice of The Florida Keys, was originally appointed by Bill Verge and now Commissioner Jimmy Weekley and has served since the beginning.

“Originally, Bill Verge appointed me to help keep commercial development out, such as a ferry terminal or businesses. We’ve done a good job at that. Remember , we just advise the commissioners; they can take or reject our conclusions.”

The next Truman Waterfront Advisory Board meeting is Monday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1300 White St.



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