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City Of Key West To Receive Over $500,000 In Federal Funding Assistance For Port Security

Key West City Manager Julio Avael and Mayor Jimmy Weekley announced today that the City of Key West will be receiving a $510,500 grant from the US Department of Transportation to assist the City's efforts in providing port security. The high marks the City received in the application reviewing process from the Florida Ports Council, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and United States Coast Guard helped the City earn this funding.

"Since September 11th, increased port security costs have been the City's greatest unexpected expenditure," said Mayor Weekley. "This funding will be very beneficial to our local taxpayers, and will be reassuring to the thousands of visitors who arrive here via cruise ships each year."

"Key West is the largest 'port of call' in the state and security measures here need to be comparable to the ports of embarkation/debarkation such as Miami and Port Everglades. It is rewarding to see the review process for the Port Security Grants recognize this," stated Capt. Nimmich, Commander Coast Guard Group Key West.

City Manager Avael said that the funding would be used for capital improvements to enhance safety measures at the Outer Mole and Mallory Square. It will include passenger checkpoints, mechanical bollards, benches, movable barricades, and the option of a 30-foot security boat. These improvements will be consistent with the City's goal of providing effective security with minimal visual distraction that enables passengers to feel both safe and comfortable. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has recently acknowledged these efforts and commended the City of Key West for its port security plan and procedures.

"This grant award was the result of a tremendous amount of work by several different individuals," said Avael. "Our Port Operations Director Raymond Archer, consultant Amy Kimball-Murley, Coast Guard Key West Commander Joe Nimmich, and Coast Guard Miami Captain of the Port Jim Watson deserve a big thanks from our community for the work they've done."

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