Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sink the Vandenberg

A non-profit organization known as Artificial Reefs of the Keys (ARK) has been working for years on a project to sink a decommissioned naval vessel, the USS Vandenberg, off the coast of Key West to create an artificial reef where divers can explore the sea life that will begin to populate it almost immediately.

There has been some controversy over the project, particularly about the amounts of taxpayer dollars being invested into it. Key West City Commissioner Bill Verge penned a column on the subject that appeared in the Key West Citizen on Tuesday that sheds light on one aspect of the controversy, i.e., whether Monroe County diverted two million dollars of general fund money to the sinking, and whether the City of Key West is at risk of not being repaid the $1M dollar "loan" it made to keep the project going forward.

Although I'm not a diver, and never will be, I think that the project is a worthy one that will, as Bill says, " many positive things for the Keys and Key West for the next 100 years with no additional expense."

Here's hoping that the State of Florida steps up and relieves the treasuries of Key West and Monroe County, both of which are financially strapped by changes taking place in the Keys that affect the revenue side of government budgets here.


jipzeecab said...

It'll be a nice boost to the sportsdiving industry which has always needed a site of interest besides the Sand Key reef..

Anonymous said...

I know how hard Joe has worked on this over the years....I'm just not sure they've done enough raising of private funds to warrant all the public monies.

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