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SSPOA President’s Message – August 2018
Is it hotter than usual? Actually, it is. Last month was the warmest July since 2007 in Key West, edging into the top spot by a tenth of a percent. With 29 days with a high of 90 degrees or higher, 4 daily high temperature records, and 9 daily warm low temperature records, July 2018 was downright steamy!
The daily thunderstorms did not abate as the tropical moisture continued to flow over the island chain bringing frequent showers and thunderstorms which nourished the newly planted palm trees along the boulevard. Thank you, once again, to our band of volunteers who continue to water the trees between storms, ensuring the young trees are well fed as they become established.
The month of July was surprisingly quiet with regard to visitors. Even lobster mini-season didn’t seem as crazy as it has in previous years. Traffic and activity in the neighborhood, however, hasn’t quieted with the constant flow of workers arriving every morning and departing every afternoon. Roofers, electricians, plumbers, and landscapers have been working on homes as repairs from Irma continue for most of us. Even some new homes have been popping up as well throughout the neighborhood; a continued sign of progress and growth on Lower Sugarloaf.
It’s hard to believe that we are fast approaching the year anniversary of the most destructive storm to impact the Keys in recent history. While we do see signs of progress, there is still much to be done. Homeowners continue to battle insurance companies. Those who had significant damage with estimated repairs costing more than fifty percent of the value of the home face deeper challenges and hardships. Skilled workers are scarce, further increasing repair costs.
With the significant loss of property in the Lower Keys and in Marathon due to Hurricane Irma, the prolonged and unresolved issue of workforce housing has never been more pertinent. Within our immediate community, the ownership of the vacant parcels of land on either side of South Point Drive at the highway has changed. As you learned in an email sent to the membership on May 23, the intention of the new landowner is to develop the parcels with a significant affordable/workforce housing project. While the project may be 2 or more years out, we will be vigilant in monitoring any proposals submitted, promptly inform the membership, and act accordingly.
Many lessons have been learned post-Irma. The County responded to citizens’ concerns about communication, both during and after the storm, and re-entry by developing the Monroe Emergency Reserve Corps (MERC), which will utilize the talents and skills of Monroe residents. Over 200 residents across the county have participated in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training courses. CERTs will mobilize following a disaster, storm, or emergency situation to assist first-responders.
I, along with several Sugarloaf Shores residents, participated in the 2-day CERT course held at the firehouse on August 4th and 5th. As we complete the other two requirements, the FEMA IS-317 online course and the hands-on training with Monroe County Fire Rescue to learn basic first-aid and fire safety techniques, we will be registered with MERC and be a part of the re-entry task force.
We would like to develop a CERT on Lower Sugarloaf. If you are interested in being a part of our reserve corps in Sugarloaf Shores, please send an email to Anita Vick, the public information officer for MERC, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow Sugarloaf Shores Property Owners Association on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sugarloafshores and the Web at www.sugarloafer.org for updates and more information.
As summer winds down, our season resumes with our monthly SSPOA board meeting on August 23rd and the general membership meeting on October 30th. Your board will review ongoing issues such as canal debris clean-up, Sugarloaf Boulevard bridge replacement, hurricane preparedness and recovery, and will continue to follow county level issues such as Goal 109, affordable/workforce housing, and other items which may directly impact our residents and community.
Enjoy the rest of your summer. If you are on the island, be mindful of increased traffic in the mornings and afternoon as school resumes on August 15th. Busses will be picking up and dropping off children, once again, early in the morning and mid-afternoon in our neighborhood and along US-1. Remember to stop for school busses when its lights are flashing and the stop sign is deployed.
If you are spending your summer in the north, enjoy your remaing time in the cooler and less humid climate. I’m sure we will see you back in the Shores shortly after the first freeze or snowfall!
As always, enjoy paradise, be neighborly, and please pick up after your pet on the bike path.