Aug 092018
 

by Arnaud and Naja Girard

The City Commission’s agenda for last Tuesday’s meeting contained several controversial items, but Michael Halpern’s proposal to turn the end of Duval Street into a pocket park literally packed the room.

About half of residents who spoke were enthusiastically in favor, the others called into question the amount of commercial use being proposed for what Halpern has characterized as “sidewalk” cafes.

In the end the Commission approved the project with five voting in favor, two opposed [Sam Kaufman and Jimmy Weekley]. After hearing from the public and much debate the Commission and Halpern agreed to put several conditions on the project that will now be drafted into a lease agreement that will also come before the Commission for approval.

A couple of issues remained unresolved such as how many benches will be available for members of the public who wish to enjoy the area without spending money at the outdoor cafes and specifics about an agreed to “environmental component.”

The drawing below depicts the specific conditions the Commission agreed to on Tuesday night and lists those that will need further negotiations.  [Click on the image to enlarge.]

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Arnaud and Naja Girard
Arnaud and Naja Girard, publishers and editors of the new, digital, Key West the Newspaper (The Blue Paper) previously reported for the former Key West The Newspaper, Key West’s longest running independent weekly, published by Dennis Reeves Cooper, Ph.D., from January 1994 until November 2012. The Girards are perhaps best known for their discovery of and extensive research surrounding the US Navy’s 1951 claim of ownership of Wisteria Island but are also responsible for top investigative stories including breaking news coverage of the highly controversial in-custody-death of Charles Eimers on Thanksgiving Day 2013, the catastrophic police tasing of Matthew Shawn Murphy, and the property tax scandal involving Balfour Beatty to name a few. Arnaud and Naja have lived in Key West since 1986.

  2 Responses to “Duval “Pocket Park” Plan Approved with 45 Less Seats and Existing Fence Removed”

  1. You actually can go back to another place in time, and that also applies to the Park on Duval. My suggestion was to get rid of the seaweed bins and change the street from diagonal parking to parallel parking. You’d still have 5 spaces that vehicles can turn around and go out, and then they wouldn’t have to back out into oncoming traffic. Sometimes when an attempt is made to make something ‘nicer’ it turns out to be not as nice.
    Michael Halpern is a good guy with good intentions, but it’s not too late to do the right thing by leaving the area as Old Town Key West of the past. It’s too late to correct the mistake at the Atlantic side of Simonton St. as the once beautiful area is now reduced greatly, and its past charm is ruined by a hotel’s garbage dumpster.

  2. Leave the area like it is except get rid of the seaweed bins, and change the present diagonal parking to parallel parking as an experiment. All it would cost is a can of paint to paint in the new spaces. Parallel parking would eliminate vehicles backing out into oncoming traffic as they would now enter and face the ocean, and when leaving would turn to the left and navigate a circle leading outward. You would lose 4 parking spaces, but there is room for 5 parallel spaces so you’d still have some revenue. My main concern with the new park was for it to leave us with an unobstructed view of the ocean, and Michael Halpern assured me that would be the end result. I have looked at some diagrams of the park, but the diagram I see here now with this article is something new to me, and my opinion is that no way this park should be accepted.

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