Marathon City Council members on Tuesday lauded the work of state Rep. Holly Raschein and Sen. Anitere Flores for help securing nearly $1 million in grants for the city.
The two U.S. Department of Environmental Protection grants, one for $57,162 and the other for $875,000, will be used for stormwater management improvements, canal restoration and the city’s vessel pumpout program at the Boot Key Harbor City Marina.
“We’re getting money to reimburse the city for our water quality projects and these are good things that save the city taxpayers money,” said Councilman John Bartus.
“These projects will help dramatically improve our nearshore water quality,” said City Manager Chuck Lindsey.
“I'm extremely excited to see Marathon receive these grants for stormwater projects. Water quality is crucially important to our way of life in the Florida Keys and I will continue to push for more state funding to complete projects that improve near shore waters and protect our unique environment,” Raschein, (R-Key Largo) told the Keynoter.
A master plan was recently done for Monroe County that prioritized canals countywide as poor, fair or good, according to City Planner George Garrett.
“We will sit down with that management plan and the firm that created it and come up with our preferred canal projects but we don’t have one in mind particularly yet,” he said.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council members members heard a presentation from Florida Keys Community College President Jonathan Gueverra, who said enrollment has declined along with the number of courses offered.
“There are a lot of people in our communities who don’t always understand there are opportunities available to them through education. It’s important for us to get the word out,” he said, adding discussions had occurred prior to his arrival at the college in 2012 about determining whether to keep the Marathon college location open.
“I’m not suggesting tonight here that I’m even considering doing anything about removing the services,” Gueverra said. “I want us to be in a position to increase the economic value of every community.”
The Middle Keys center at Marathon High School offers courses that help students fulfill associate’s degree in general studies.
Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219