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
"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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