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Navy Reevaluates Truman Waterfront Transfer To City

 

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The U.S. Navy has decided to reassess the transfer of the Truman Waterfront harbor property to the City of Key West for use as a marina and parkland. This decision was announced today in a meeting between Navy Admirals Jan Gaudio and Michael Nowakowski, and Key West Mayor Jimmy Weekley and City Manager Julio Avael. The City is seeking ownership of the site through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

In light of recent threats of terrorism, the Navy has been forced to reevaluate its infrastructure and training programs to maximize both effectiveness and efficiency. Navy Deputy and Chief of Staff A.H. Konetzni Jr wrote in a letter presented to the City, "We await conclusions of the ongoing assessment, but there is good potential that the harbor will be determined a critical facility for these operational initiatives. If the harbor is considered necessary, we will examine all options for use, including continued joint use with the City of Key West."

Mayor Jimmy Weekley commented, "The news is somewhat of a letdown because the Truman Waterfront represents an outstanding opportunity for new parkland within Key West. But our city is committed to supporting the US Navy and we will be ready to discuss continued joint use of the property in the future should it become necessary."

Mayor Weekley indicated that cruise ships will continue to dock at the outer mole and that the present joint participation agreement will continue while the Navy completes its assessment. This announcement will not adversely affect the City's contracts with the cruise lines, and the Navy has indicated that its evaluation could be completed by late spring or early summer. Meanwhile, the City's plans for redeveloping the parkland property will be put on hold since the Navy will not issue the City a lease for the Truman Waterfront as had originally been planned for early December.

"There is however the potential for a win-win scenario," said the Mayor. "The additional Navy operations would help boost and diversify our local economy and could supplement our cruise ship revenues."

"The Navy understands that cruise ship revenues are a critical part of the City's budget and our local economy," said City Manager Julio Avael. "While it appears that the Navy has an interest in returning to the Truman Waterfront, I'm encouraged that they are willing to sit at the table with the City of Key West to try to accommodate our local needs."



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