Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Time For Tom Tukey To Go?

According to a letter published on the Bahama Village Blog and allegedly written by Tom Tukey, the President of the Truman Annex Master Owners Association (TAMPOA), the TAMPOA Board of Directors is not backing away from his desire to control Southard Street and the new waterfront property outside of it's gates. The letter is dated December 7, 2006 and is addressed to "Fellow TAMPOA Owners".

In that letter, Tukey lashes out at City Commissioners while imploring Truman Annex residents to continue funding his battle with the city (and the County, Navy, NOAA, and the general public).

The letter details upcoming special assessments that the residents of Truman Annex must pay: "The Board decided to adequately fund the association budget to allow for costs associated with litigation. This means that the quarterly assessment will increase to $1150.00 and the special assessments will be $400.00 each in January, April and July."

Tukey details the many problems that will befall upon the beloved Truman Annex motherland if they don't prevail. For some reason, Tukey thinks that his fellow residents won't be able to fully enjoy "extensive pedestrian, bicycle and roller blade activity" if TAMPOA can't control traffic. Makes one wonder how the rest of the world manages to do these things without gates and controlling traffic. Maybe he didn't learn the childhood "game off" and "game on" method of playing. Maybe he just does not play well with others.

But the most astounding thing in the letter is the admission that Tukey wants to control property outside of his development. I am not talking about putting in a factory, industrial facility, or airport next door. I'm talking about a working marina, waterfront restaurants, bars, shops, and whatever else belongs in Key West and makes this place so fun and special. In the letter, Tukey supposedly wrote: "Gates enhance nighttime security for our residents, prevent late night access from the waterfront and act as a suppressant to the development of restaurants, bars and other retail establishments."

And this Key West, is what TAMPOA may really be up to. TAMPOA wants to control property outside of its gates, the Truman waterfront given to the City of Key West from the Navy. Some residents of Truman Annex will lose the greenspace that exists between them and the water. But you know what, THEY DID NOT BUY THAT PROPERTY! It is the City's and the citizens, and that is who should be deciding what should be done with it.

I want to see the Truman Waterfront, which is a very large open space, have a mixture of green space/park (this must be part of the plan), working marina (the Florida Keys are losing their working marinas due to redevelopment into yacht clubs), and bars, shops, and restaurants (for the enjoyment of everyone).

Citizens of Key West and City Commissioners, make the Truman Waterfront a vibrant addition to Key West. Please don't let TAMPOA control the Truman waterfront. REJECT THE RISING TIDE OF CONFORMITY. Don't be afraid to use eminent domain...this is what it was made for. Let TAMPOA know that if they won't play nice, then they may lose all the gates.
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Bob said...

Dave, as I expressed to you once before, you and I part company on a vision of the Truman Waterfront Park. The park that I see in my mind's eye doesn't include a commercial marina with the ameneties that such a facility frequently includes. There are more than enough restaurants, bars, retail shops, etc. just a few minutes walk from any of the entrances to the waterfront property. Here in Bahama Village we are urging the City to speed up the process of cleaning up the area nearest to Fort Street so that the fence between the Park and the Village can be torn down. We -- or some of us, maybe even most of us -- who live back here, actually agree with those in Truman Annex who prefer a gentler use of that property than what you describe.

Our disagreements with some of them are over traffic. Our fifteen foot wide streets are imperiled by TAMPOA's desire to restrict traffic in one direction on fifty foot wide Southard Street. However that works out, we are all imperiled by intensive use of the 33 acres, and by its use for anything other than a recreational/educational park.

Marinas and luxurious "assisted care" facilities are anathema in my personal vision. 436 parking spaces are anathema to a child-safe environment, roller skating, athletic fields, walking paths, clean air and the like.

Virtually every foot of waterfront from the Westin (old Hilton) Pier to the Ferry Terminal is already filled with marinas, docks, restaurants, bars, shops, everything a visitor might need, even a visitor who sails in instead of flying or driving.

No doubt there are others in the City and beyond who cast a coveting eye on the last bit of undeveloped waterfront in Old Town, and have visions of new revenues and new money-making opportunities.

Rather than use up any more of your bandwidth (I do go on when I get wound up about something), I'll switch back to my own blog and the Bahama Village Blog as I have more to say.

Thanks, though, for paying attention. We want a park for the people of the Real Key West, you, me and our friends and neighbors. See you there for a friendly game of checkers while kids play nearby, couples stroll, and young mothers push strollers.

Anonymous said...


If I lived on Southard Street I don't think I'd like a stream of drunks driving down my street at four a.m. after they leave the bars either.


Cayo Dave said...

Thank you very much for your comment and for paying attention as well.
I look forward to the day when we can play a game of friendly checkers while "kids play nearby, couples stroll, and young mothers push strollers".
Maybe we'll have to bring our own food and beverages...maybe I can buy you some at a small tienda at the park.
But you know, I'm starting to think that my nostalgic ideas of a funky addition to Key West are probably just a waste of my time. In reality, the Mayor and other top public officials have a vision for this island that I don't think is well thought out or likely to work.
Let me just say, to any of you top officials reading this, that the plan to turn Key West into Nantucket is ludicrious, dangerous, and foolish. In reality, the city is pricing itself out of it's tourist economy in the hope that people will pay much higher room rates. Hotels are being sold off as condos, and I don't buy into the idea that this will attract a more upscale market. Instead, it is pricing out the majority of our visitors, and there are probably few people willing to pay $300 per night to stay in Key West. The Spottswoods may think that they are going to make a killing (buying up hotel after hotel and turning them into "condotels"), but I have a feeling that they are pressing a bet one too many times and blow the whole stack. This is not Nantucket. There is a highway that leads here. And there is Cuba, 90 miles away, putting us on the front line of the major change about to sweep the island.
But this rant deserves its own post, so expect that I am going to write something about it in the near future.

Cayo Dave said...

I hear ya...I wouldn't want a bunch of drunks stumbling past my house at 4 am. No one does.
But the reality is that the City of Key West can't lose control of Southard Street. There are bigger needs like: the new waterfront park, access to Ft. Zach, Navy business, NOAA, etc.
I understand that people in Truman Annex are upset. I feel for them. But I don't see a better plan available. Also, this whole thing wouldn't be a problem if TAMPOA would just mellow out and forget about gating Southard Street. The city wouldn't be dragged into lawsuit, and Truman Annex could once again hold its head up high in Key West.
Since TAMPOA is so dug into its position, this is what eminent domain was made for - so that municipalities can build infrastructre for the greater good.
It may cost real dollars (which could be financed a variety of ways, including parking meters, special issue bonds, and added businesses at the new park to increase the tax base), but I say if eminent domain is used then all the gates should go.
It is time for the leaders of Key West to let TAMPOA know that they too can throw down the gauntlet.

Anonymous said...


It's just too bad that both sides are so dug in about the street. Couldn't they just agree to keep the street open at all times and route the other streets in Bahama Village so drivers can get through to the park? That way everyone would share the extra traffic.

But I'm definitely not thrilled with a hudge commercial area out at the Navy Park. It's a lousy place for an assisted living center and we've already got enough bars and restaurants in town. How about green space and a beach?


gigi said...

YO DD, nice to put a name to your rants.

Cayo Dave said...

Thank you very much for your comments. I appreciate the time you take to read my blog. Look forward to hearing from you again.