TWAB, NOAA, Navy, Not Happy With Powerboat Race Contract / Could Cost Taxpayers Twenty Thousand a Year

SBI Parking Plan (Construction)

The Truman Waterfront Advisory Board (TWAB) may have stirred a hornets’ nest at its meeting on April 21st at at Old City Hall.

The seven-member board met solely to consider an agreement between the City of Key West and Super Boat International Productions, Inc.  a Florida for-profit corporation.   SBI produces and runs the City of Key West World Championship Race for powerboats held each year in November, just after Fantasy Fest.

TWAB was created by the City Commission/Naval Properties Local Redevelopment Authority in 2007. It was charged with making recommendations to the LRA on all matters relating to the Truman Waterfront.  TWAB is made up of seven citizens, each one appointed by one member of the City Commission.  All matters relating to the still largely vacant 33 acre parcel are, by City Commission direction, to be reviewed first by TWAB.  In some cases, when the matter being reviewed affects the portion of the land that is in the Bahama Village Redevelopment Area, or TIF District, those plans plans are also supposed to pass review by another Advisory Board, the Bahama Village Redevelopment Advisory Committee. Continue reading

POWERBOAT RACES: Has The City Been Taken For A Ride?

We need to be nicer to the Super Boat International race organizer, John Carbonell:  Give him special privileges over at the Truman Waterfront, a 5 year agreement, free hotel rooms, etc or else he will just move his whole operation to Sarasota or Clearwater.

Everyone in Key West knows about the infamous Sarasota bid to hijack the world championship powerboat races.  Everybody in Key West – but strangely enough, it seems no one in Sarasota has ever heard about it.  According to City of Sarasota Public Information Officer, Jan Thornburg, who responded to a Blue Paper request for information, “The City of Sarasota did not put in a bid or enter into talks with race organizers to host the 2014 Super Boat International World Championship Powerboat Races.”

Now that’s interesting because Carbonell had announced intense negotiations with Sarasota and Clearwater, “I don’t just want something that is going to tie me to Key West for five years,” Carbonell told the Key West Citizen on October 22, 2013.  “I need to know what all three cities have to offer.  I want something that is conducive to myself and the racers as well.”

Pretty strange considering that the City of Sarasota clearly informed us that they had never made a bid nor spoken to anyone about it.  It get’s better.  On November 25, 2013, Carbonell announced, again via a Key West Citizen article, ”The City of Sarasota has withdrawn its request to take over the annual powerboat world championships … but on Sunday it still remained uncertain if the races will stay here.” Continue reading