The date of the referendum draws near, barely a month away and the terms of the debate seem to be set in stone. Business interests led by the Chamber of Commerce want a study to consider the impacts of widening the ship channel into Key West. Everyone else says no thanks. "Everyone" is of course a exaggeration but that's what opponents would limit think. The truth will become apparent October First when the vote is taken.
Cruise ship passengers land at the Outer Mole which the Navy ceded to the city while retaining control of the waters inside the basin. Those passengers come into the city on trolleys contracted for half a million dollars a year from Historic Tours. The bulk of the rest land at the Westin Pier and the city gets a much smaller share of those landing fees. A very small number come to Key West on cruise ships small enough to park at Mallory Square, block the western view and piss off the vendors who rent space to make their sales during the sunset celebrations.
Merchants further afield express resentment they don't get the shoppers and the money off the cruise ships even as Loca residents complain about the crowds that descend off the ship in their thousands. It's a jumble of competing and conflicted interests.
I took a cruise ship once for a week with my wife and it wasn't a terrible experience. Te ship managed not to feel crowded and though we didn't gamble or watch stage shows our cabin with balcony was comfortable, room service was great and the adult pool was very pleasant. Of all our stops in Mexico, Grand Cayman and Jamaica, Key West was the most lively and interesting to me, as I struggled to imagine myself a visitor to my own base of operations.Channel Widening, Key West, Feasibility, Cruise ship, Environment, Dredging
Dredging the Key West Channel for Larger Cruise Ships: Referendum on the Horizon | Last Stand Puts fire in your belly doesn't it?
Proponents of the study say only that it's a study, opponents argue the study will pave the way for inevitable dredging to widen the channel. The latest argument now focuses on National Marine Sanctuary rules and the lawyers in the crowd now argue that dredging a new channel is specifically outlawed and can only get Federal permission by act of Congress that overrides sanctuary rules. That has been a tough nut to overcome but I have no doubt the will be plenty of argument over that either way the vote goes.
The Blue Paper | Key West The Newspaper
Even the current crop of "small" ships dominate the city skyline. You can see their distinctive smoke stacks across the city.
Cheyenne likes walking Mallory Square but in the heat of summer, even a modestly warm summer like this one she only has so much energy, and the cool bricks make a pleasant spot for to rest up. She wasn't actually locked behind a fence. I just made it look that way.
I took a quick look at the forthcoming season of plays at the Waterfront Playhouse but I don't think they'll be seeing me at this collection of over the top musical nonsense. I hae to hope the Red Barn puts on a few dramas this winter to keep me amused.