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, July 13, 2007

Solares Hill Letter to the Editor (July 13, 2007)

Dear Editor:

The big guns at the FKACC have seen fit to accuse me of a case of NIMBY in my contesting of their project for the Truman Waterfront. Once again they're using smoke and mirrors to try to confuse the citizenry of our fair city.

The fact is, I did NOT call for the affordable assisted living facility be located elsewhere. Indeed, that's exactly what the original vision for the Truman Waterfront called for, and I have no problem with it. I welcome it. What I do not welcome there is a large expensive retirement complex like the FKACC is proposing.

Did ANYBODY, other than the FKACC folks, ever call for a big retirement community there? Why is this the ONLY plan that they have presented to us? The facility was supposed to be ASSISTED LIVING. And people wanted it to be affordable. That is what the original vision for the waterfront called for. The FKACC project is a subversion of that vision, despite their denials.

They state that there are no alternative sites available for their project, but that assumes their project is the ONLY WAY to provide assisted living. As I mentioned, they have locked themselves into a single plan and are not willing to look into other WAYS (not sites) to accomplish the goal. Do it at the Truman Waterfront, but do it differently.

I was accused of making "invented assertions" -- but their responses try to make the claim that the facility will not be on prime waterfront land! The only thing between the FKACC retirement homes and the water will be park space and the marina. That's about as prime of a waterfront location as I could ever hope for. Who's inventing what here?

No matter how you want to shuffle the numbers, the facts are these:
  • Bayshore Manor has 16 affordable assisted living units
  • FKACC's plan has 20 affordable assisted living units

FKACC can obfuscate things by claiming that people can share rooms at their facility. That's great, but 20 units are 20 units. In all that nice space, ONLY 20 affordable assisted units!

The other 20 assisted units would be at full market cost, which would rule out most all of us. We could never afford those. Why not work to find a way to make all 40 of them affordable?

FKACC may be very proud of their 95 "independent living" units (only 8 of which are affordable) that will consume most of the space allotted, but come on: who proposed putting such a "retirement homes" development on the Truman Waterfront? Those units will be out of reach for most of us, so why should WE subsidize them with free land? The FKACC seems to have lost touch with the average member of our community. They're setting most of their focus on the ones with access to larger capital assets.

Let's get our focus back on ASSISTED living. AFFORDABLE assisted living. And leave the expensive retirement homes for the developers to make their money on elsewhere. We owe that to our community.

David Lybrand
Key West

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