Key West CitizenJuly 26, 2017

I am writing to request help in stopping a 17-day rock concert/music festival that is being proposed at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West. I recently read a series of “Citizens Voice” comments in The Key West Citizen on this proposed venue. These comments alerted me to the great potential for harm to the state park if this proposal is allowed to go forward.

For some 32 years, Fort Zach has been a wonderful destination for visitors from around the world to enjoy the history of Fort Taylor as well as enjoy the beach and other recreation opportunities. Howard England’s original 1968 vision for the park was two-fold: history and recreation — but not entertainment! He devoted more than 16 years almost single-handedly bringing the property from its status in 1968 as a U.S. Navy junkyard to the valuable historic and environmental marvel it is today. However, I believe allowing an out-of-town rock concert promoter to commandeer the park with an entertainment venue for an estimated 20,000-30,000 attendees would grossly violate the scared trust that the Florida Park Service has been charged with since it assumed custody of the property in 1976.

Simply put: I believe there are too many downsides to the promoter’s proposal. How can the State of Florida ensure that no harm comes to this National Historic Site and Landmark? There is no reasonable room for such an entertainment venue in terms of attendees, parking, concessions, security and comfortable accommodations. Such a large venue will also more than likely irrevocably damage the historic property, as well as the beautiful natural environment at the park.

Add that to the fact that the promoter apparently won’t consider using the City of Key West’s new Truman Waterfront amphitheater immediately adjacent to the park, and the promoter’s proposal becomes even more egregious. I just read that even Jimmy Buffett was considering playing at the amphitheater.

I urge all Monroe County citizens and officials to ensure that no damage occurs to the park.

Edward England

Fairborn, Ohio