Florida Keys News
Friday, December 5, 2014
KEY WEST
Street sweeper off to the Bahamas

The city of Key West's street sweeper was retired to an island in the Bahamas this week.

Commissioners last year approved the donation of the hand-me-down sweeper to Harbour Island, Bahamas, for "public benefit," as city law allows.

A new one can run around $250,000, and Key West's leaders decided gifting it to an island with 2,000 residents was the best use for the decommissioned sweeper.

As promised by Mayor Craig Cates, the sweeper disposal didn't cost the city a cent.

Arnold's Towing, which has the city contract for towing, volunteered to haul the sweeper up to Fort Lauderdale, Cates said.

"It's just another day at the office for me," said Shane Arnold, who personally escorted the sweeper up to Port Everglades, the seaport in Fort Lauderdale. "I know it's at the port. It's delivered, it's there."

Arnold's had to secure permits to take the "wide load" up the Florida Keys and through the mainland.

"We had to run daytime hours and flags," said Arnold. "It was an $1,800 trip I gave to the city."

From there, the sweeper is off to the Bahamas on a ship.

Harbour Island, which sits two miles east of Eleuthera and 60 miles away from Nassau, is about 3.5 miles long and a half mile wide.

Known for its pink sand beaches, Harbour Island contains Dunmore Town, one of the oldest settlements in the Bahamas dating back to the 18th century and once the island chain's capital.

Harbour Island officials visited Key West in October 2013, and formally accepted the street sweeper gift from the mayor at a commission meeting.

Chief Councilor Tramaine Johnson and Councilors Martin Grant and Chanella Percenie met with Cates and the city's Fire Chief David Fraga to watch a demonstration of the sweeper machine.

"Key West is so clean," Grant said at the time, the city's spokeswoman put in a news release. "We are grateful to the city for this wonderful opportunity."

A year ago this week, commissioners approved buying a 2014 Johnston VT 651 Pure Vacuum Street Sweeper for $248,731, from an Orlando company.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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