Monday, December 21, 2015

Letter from the President

Dear Friends of Old Seven;

In our last email newsletter, we were excited to announce that the Monroe County Commission voted 4-1 to work with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the city of Marathon, Florida on a plan to restore the Old Seven Mile Bridge, followed by the city of Marathon voting 5-0 in favor of this plan.  I am very pleased to report that on March 19, 2014, agreements were signed between the Florida Department of Transportation, the Monroe County Commission and the City of Marathon, Florida for a $77.5 million, 30-year project to preserve the Old Seven Mile Bridge.  The State of Florida’s contribution will be $57.2 million, Monroe County will pay $14.24 million and the city of Marathon will contribute $5.34 million over the next 30 years.  The State of Florida will maintain ownership.

The project includes repairs, restoration, long-term maintenance and the return of limited vehicular traffic which includes a passenger trolley between Knights Key and historic Pigeon Key.  The ramp to Pigeon Key will also be repaired.  Construction is scheduled to begin in approximately two years, and will take another two years to complete.

Now that we have accomplished what once seemed almost impossible, Friends of Old Seven will shift toward working with the responsible entities to ensure that the entire area between Knights Key and Pigeon Key, including the Old Seven Mile Bridge, becomes a world-class linear park and open-air museum capable of serving the recreational needs of Monroe County residents while attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to enjoy it each year.

To that effect, Friends of Old Seven will soon launch a capital campaign to raise up to $10 million over the next 3-5 years. It is contemplated that funds raised through a campaign aimed at the private sector will be complemented by Federal and State grants, as well as counterpart contributions from Monroe County’s Tourism Development Council (TDC) “Brick and Mortar” program.

As we move forward with new goals and expectations, we will keep you informed of our progress, and hope to continue to involve you with our efforts.  As always, we are so grateful for your support and help.

Bernard Spinrad, President