Key West needs more and better care facilities for its senior citizens. This blog will discuss ways to do so. The grandiose give-away promoted by the "Florida Keys Assisted Care Coalition" is not the best way. We can do much better.

Friday, September 28, 2007

KWTN Letter to the Editor (September 28, 2007)

Reader Says Vote No On Assisted Living Land Give-Away

The public-relations blitz by the Florida Keys Assisted Care Coalition (FKACC) in their efforts to get free land for a big expensive condo community on our precious waterfront rolls on. They obscure the fact that their huge project only provides a very limited amount of affordable assisted care (only 20 units).

They blur the fact that the NON-assisted component of their project is bigger than the infamous Watermark project that horrified the community around the Key West Bight. That’s right, most of their facility will be big 3-story buildings, holding 95 NON-ASSISTED living condos.

In sales-pitch seminars and letters to various local publications they claim that the project— where the prime location would be granted to them for free— will be beneficial to all. Excuse me? With only 20 affordable assisted units in a project of 135 units? And 95 of which aren’t even assisted living? How many average islanders will that benefit?

Some have made the claim that those who don’t accept this big give-away somehow can’t be taken seriously unless they provide ideas of their own.

Okay, how about this . . . Why not toss out all the expensive non-assisted retirement homes and bump up the number of assisted units to ONE HUNDRED. And qualify ALL of them for subsidies (just like Bayshore Manor)? That would give 100 locals a shot at affordable assisted care, rather than just 20. But how would this be handled without the “subsidy” money from all those rich folks moving into the planned nice condo community for those who don’t need assistance?

Without that Watermarksized condo project taking up most of the allocated land, there would be enough space to build a nice restaurant alongside the assisted living buildings. It could provide reasonable cost food, with ALL profits fed into a subsidy fund/foundation. It could use “interns” from the culinary program being proposed elsewhere at the waterfront by the Bahama Conch Community Land Trust.

Instead of reserving all that land for rich retirees who don’t even need assisted care, we could ALL enjoy the restaurant, and it would subsidize a REAL assisted care facility at a much greater scale than is currently planned.

I’m sure flaws will be pointed out in this alternative plan, but the point is: there ARE alternatives that can be considered. We don’t have to lock out the average citizen from so much of the Truman Waterfront. And we can provide MORE affordable assisted care to the community than they are planning to.

Let’s look beyond the slick dog and pony show the FKACC is trotting out all over town and come up with a plan that better meets the needs of the average citizen of our community.

David Lybrand

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