Friday, July 30, 2004

Heaven on Earth

This is as good as it gets. I'm blogging from Schooner Wharf Bar. Michael McCloud is singing Back to the Islands. Its another gorgeous day, after two days of rain and clouds. Not too hot, not too sunny, blue skies and white clouds.

I spent three hours today volunteering at Reef Relief, which is what brings me to the Bight today. Today's Friday, so its weekly paper day -- Solares Hill, Key West the Newspaper, the City Paper. The big news today is that the entire Key West Bight has been put into play. A Miami developer has put it out that he would pay $40 million for it and that the City ought to sell it to him because the City has taken it as far as they can and now its time for private enterprise to take it to the next level.

On the way in this morning, I took a ride to the end of Caroline Street, down by the Municipal Parking Garage. The Conch Harbor Marina is there, including the new Monty's Restaurant. There I saw the future of Key West. Its pretty -- but its not a very pretty sight. Think Palm Beach, Marina del Rey, Newport. That's what it looks like. Professional landscaping, clean as a whistle, and expensive.

No one I talked to thought it was a good idea, and the paper's say that City officials have rejected the idea out of hand. Make no mistake: the $40 million is just an opening bid. Now that its in play, the bidding will begin and eventually its going to tumble. The architect who drew up the illustrations for WaterMark at Jabour's knew what he was doing; he shows Schooner Wharf as this sterile looking while building on the edge of the Bight. Undoubtedly, he's envisioning an upscale, high-priced, snooty restaurant here. No more Schooner Wharf. I'll cry when it happens.

But that's the way of the world, isn't it. Land always moves to its best and highest economic use. Always!

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