October 23, 2019

THERESA JAVA/Free Press
Key Largo residents created a Save Our Green Space group to protest a plan by the county build workforce housing on land originally acquired for park purposes. Group members are pictured at the commission's September meeting in Key Largo.

THERESA JAVA/Free Press Key Largo residents created a Save Our Green Space group to protest a plan by the county build workforce housing on land originally acquired for park purposes. Group members are pictured at the commission's September meeting in Key Largo.

KEY LARGO — Monroe County commissioners last week declined Florida Housing funding to install five three-bedroom workforce housing units along Atlantic Avenue in Port Largo.

The board voted unanimously to carve out the Port Largo site from Community Block Development Grant-Disaster Recovery funding in a 4-0 vote. Mayor Sylvia Murphy was absent from the meeting.

Commissioner David Rice said the commission may have gotten ahead of itself by adding Tract E to the application since staff wasn’t able to research the history and intended use of the property the county purchased adjacent to Key Largo Community Park. The tract was originally acquired to supplement the park.

Commissioner Michelle Coldiron said she was happy that Monroe County will retain the $1,957,160 that was allotted for the Tract E site for other county workforce housing projects.

“The second issue is the promise made to the residents on what we were going to do with this Tract E and to better enhance the park. At some point we need to memorialize that we promised that Tract E will be for park uses,” Coldiron said. “Maybe once we get the park director hired, this might be one of the first things they look at.”

Commissioners approved breaking the land lease agreement between the commission and the Monroe County Housing Authority for Tract E.

Florida Housing has approved using the block grant funding to build 20 housing units on three scattered sites throughout the county including 10 one-bedroom units at Howard’s Haven trailer park on Big Pine Key, eight one-bedroom and two two-bedroom units along Conch Avenue on Conch Key.

tjava@keysnews.com