Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Jo-Jo's, country club get OK for redevelopment

MARATHON -- A long-closed Grassy Key restaurant that dates back 67 years and an adjacent property are about to get a facelift and be transformed into homes, a marina, a public boat ramp, a convenience store and a gas station.

The Marathon City Council last week approved plans to redevelop Jo-Jo's and Nomad Outfitters at mile marker 60, oceanside.

Planning Director George Garrett said the project is a joint plan presented by two adjacent property owners to construct 14 homes, including eight oceanfront and six a few more steps from the water's edge, as well as other community assets. The plan for the boat ramp includes public parking for 14 to 16 vehicles.

According to Florida Keys historian Jerry Wilkinson, Joseph and Josephine Ginovannielli opened the Grassy Key Motel and Luncheonette with a distinctly Italian flavor in 1947, and it later became known as Jo-Jo's.

Meanwhile, redevelopment plans for the Sombrero Country Club, which opened in 1960, also moved forward during last week's council meeting. Plans call for a new clubhouse and upgrates to all facilities.

Kip Schulties, designer of Sombrero's new 6,600-yard golf course, said the golf pro hopes to attract Ladies Professional Golf Association players to the 18-hole, par 71 course, as well as to continue to host youth instruction and possibly fundraising tournaments involving celebrities.

An update on the proposed 33rd Street redevelopment project is expected to be included in the council's July 22 meeting agenda.

Plans to meet with Fishermen's Hospital staff regarding creating a four-way intersection at 33rd Street and U.S. 1 to include better access alignment for hospital parking and establishing a center lane from the entrance to Community Park to 33rd Street were to take place last week. Florida Department of Transportation officials also were expected to give input on the plan.

Also discussed July 8 and expected to be brought forward at the July 22 meeting is a written agreement concerning a reduction in the annual fixed costs of the city's financial services contract with Bishop Rosasco from $365,000 to $315,000 and a reduction in stormwater and wastewater fund management costs, beginning immediately.

Councilman Mark Senmartin said the options remains to have an in-house finance department, but for now he agreed with Mayor Dick Ramsay that the cost reduction is progress.

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