KEY LARGO -- With the Monroe County Commission's possible final approval on purchasing Rowell's Marina still several weeks away, a recent environmental report confirmed that an underground fuel tank is on the property.
But the 15-page report, conducted by Envirochek Inc. of Seminole, goes on to say, even with the tank, the property does not require any follow-up action. The tank is filled with concrete and needs no further cleanup.
During public conversations leading up to the commission's 4-1 decision in September to purchase the bayfront marina for $5 million, county staff dismissed claims that the 8-acre property harbored underground tanks.
The report recommends that two aboveground tanks currently on the property should be removed if the county doesn't plan to use them. It is not known if county staff will put that cost burden on the current owner or not.
The environmental report was part of a "Phase I" assessment to determine if there was a need to further investigate the property. No follow-up environmental studies are likely.
The final purchase must come with a super-majority vote from the County Commission. Danny Kolhage has already voted against the project and has showed no signs of changing his mind. The remaining four commissioners must vote to approve and one of them has shown reason to waver.
Commissioner Heather Carruthers has only agreed to go along with the purchase if county staff presents an operation plan that details the costs of taking over the property and options for recouping the county's investment.
How the property ultimately will be redeveloped could take months or years to figure out.
Even after County Administrator Roman Gastesi negotiated a price for the property, he said he didn't know the condition of an existing structure on the property and whether or not it could be salvaged or used. Destroying that building and removing an existing modular structure could add costs to the project.
A final vote on the purchase is expected at the County Commission's Nov. 20 meeting at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center. A precise time for the Rowell's Marina vote is expected in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the county Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will hold a public meeting about potential uses of the property at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, at the Nelson center.