Friday, March 15, 2013

General Membership Meeting 2-25-13 Minutes

Minutes for Monday, February 25th, 2013

5:30 – 7 pm  – City of Marathon Firehouse

General Membership Meeting

Roll Call by Bernard Spinrad, who introduced “Special Guests”, among others:

Holly Raschein, State Representative for the Florida Keys, and Erin Muir, her Legislative Assistant

George Neugent, Mayor, Monroe County
David Rice, Commissioner, Monroe County
Sylvia Murphy, Commissioner, Monroe County
Roman Gastesi, Administrator, Monroe County
Kevin Wilson, Chief Engineer, Monroe County
Trish Smith, Planner, Monroe County
Judy Williams Coordinator for ”Scenic Highway Alliance”

Mike Cinque, Mayor, City of Marathon
Roger Hernstadt, Manager, City of Marathon

Dennis Fernandez- FDOT District 6
Patty Ivey, FDOT, Marathon Office

Ed Swift – former Monroe Co. Commissioner and CEO, Historic Tours, Inc.

And various members of the Friends of Old Seven Board of Directors and volunteers

Financial Status: Given by Bernard Spinrad (Mr. Jeff Shocket not in attendance).

  • FO7 has between $22-$25K in its Treasury.
  • City of Marathon has put up a grant for $10k to combine with FO7’s $3.5K to pay for a study to determine the economic impact on the Middle Keys of restoring the Old Seven Mile Bridge; total cost = $13,500.
  • Ms Raschein donated the “unused portion” of her campaign monies to save Old 7.

Bridge Head Operations: Given by Brad White

  • FO7 paid kiosk personnel are on the bridge almost daily from “Sunrise to Sunset” (about 8am – 6 pm.). He stated an “average day” (during season) about 600 people visit the bridge and an spend an average of $500/day in gross sales yielding this past year (2012) approx. $100k. This bridge site income is a combination of both sales (shirts/hats/assorted items.) and people’s donations at the table. Sales have risen since the implementation of the “onsite credit card” system which was newly implemented.
  • Approximately 10k petition signatures were taken from the bridge last year. The petition signatures were given to the consultant doing the economic impact study to provide accurate data for the projections to be used to promote saving the bridge. Also the issue of the FO7 “Bridge information/donation table” permitting was brought up.

Saving Old Seven – Status Report – by Bernard Spinrad w/input from Guests

Summation of talks: Construction is expected to start in 2015 as the design/study phase will take about 1.5 years to complete. In the meantime, monies were found to finance the Pigeon Key ferry for another year. It was stated and all agreed the saving of the Old 7 section was not just a Middle Keys project but rather a Monroe Co. wide one with ramifications in its scope to effect substantial income, job creation etc.

Mr. Gastesi mentioned that BP monies would be forthcoming to the State and Monroe County, but indicate it’s premature to calculate what portion of these may be targeted for the restoration and/or maintenance of the bridge.

It was mentioned that our “infrastructure sales tax”, currently extended to 2033 through a recent referendum, yields about $15 million a year with the primary use slotted for “waste water”. Under optimum circumstances, a portion of these funds can be directed at the restoration of the bridge.

Dennis Fernandez, representing the Secretary of FDOT’s District 6, Mr. Gus Pego, stated the first of several draft agreements are been prepared, including one between FDOT and an engineering consultant to design the bridge restoration work, and another one between FDOT and Monroe County for the actual transferral of ownership of the bridge from FDOT to Monroe County. The projects overall rough numbers being discussed were:

  • $18 million to restore the bridge (engineering design fees included) to a service life of 40 years.
  • $70,000 per year, average annual maintenance costs.
  • $50,000 bi-annual bridge inspection fee, to be covered by FDOT
  •  $3.5 million every 10 years for painting

Mr. Fernandez also mentioned the Pigeon Key ramp reconstruction would cost approximately $500,000, which would be the responsibility of Monroe County.

George Neugent brought up “getting Sunset Park into the mix”, as well as impressing on the Governor and the Legislature that this project will create “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”.

Sunset Park ADA Improvements Project – Bernard Spinrad related a progress status conversation he had with Mr. Dean Stoddart, FDEP Manager concerning this $1.2 million project. The project is well underway, quickly approaching the 30% final design point. A fairly final draft of the proposed plan was distributed to the audience.

Awards Ceremony: A copious amount of awards were issued (see accompanying picture-taken by Mike Cross hence not in photo) to Rep. Raschein, Mayor Neugent and various supporters, contributors and volunteers to our organization.
Upcoming Fund-Raising Events/Opportunities – These items were not covered in detail as several attendants had to leave to attend another event. However, Mr. Jerry Chapman spoke at length about scheduling, sometime early next year, a “Black-Tie” fund-raising event; discussions are under way to further detail this initiative.

New Business/Open Discussion. No new business. Discussion brought to the floor by the Silva’s (visiting) to sell “Bricks” to be placed on or near the bridge so people get the feeling on “ownership”

Close of Meeting- Adjourned at 7:25.