October 10, 2019

The Key West Lighthouse on Whitehead Street was completed in 1848 and remained in operation until 1969. The original lighthouse was destroyed two years earlier by the Great Hurricane of 1846. (ROB O'NEAL/The Citizen)

The Key West Lighthouse on Whitehead Street was completed in 1848 and remained in operation until 1969. The original lighthouse was destroyed two years earlier by the Great Hurricane of 1846. (ROB O'NEAL/The Citizen)

Some of the Florida Keys most historic and iconic structures are under going renovations after being damaged in Hurricane Irma and the projects have ranked high in a grant program that will pay for the much-needed repairs.

Out of 19 applications statewide, seven of the projects are in the Keys. The grants are being administered through the State Division of Historical Resources and the National Parks Association.

The highest-ranked project is repairs to the historic Armory building on White street in Key West, in which state recommended that the Historic Florida Keys Foundation receive $108,000. That project is followed in fourth place by a recommended $500,000 in repairs to the West Martello on Higgs Beach, according to the Division of Historical Resources.

The state recommended roughly $138,000 to repairs to the Key West Lighthouse Keepers Quarters, which came in sixth place, and a recommendation of $482,000 for renovations to Pigeon Key honeymoon cottage and commissary came in seventh, according to the Division of Historical Resources.

Repairs to the iconic Mel Fisher museum building on Whitehead Street in Key West ranked No. 13 with a recommended amount of $500,000, according to the Division of Historical Resources.

The Division of Historical Resources ranked repairs to the residence at Crane Point at No. 16 and recommended the Florida Keys Land & Sea Trust, Inc. be given $436,000.

Repairs to roof at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Key West came in at No. 19, with the state agency recommending the project receive $166,000.

“Having our projects included in this grant helps the county move forward with continual Hurricane Irma recovery,” said Cary Knight, Director of Monroe County Project Management. “We fully expects grant agreements for the projects because we placed so high.”

The grants are backdated so that work that has already been done can be funded.

Many of the county projects are in the design phase and some have been put out to bid or under contract, Knight said.

The applications were reviewed by a five-member Hurricane Irma Subgrants Selection Committee appointed by the Florida Secretary of State.

The applications are under final review by the National Park Service, and grant agreements are tentatively expected in November.

For information, visit https://dos.myflorida.com/historical/grants/irma/.

tohara@keysnews.com