Islamorada put out a welcome sign at Founders Park this week for its neighbors in the Tavernier zip code.
While work continues to open Harry Harris Park on south Key Largo, the Islamorada Village Council voted unanimously to open its doors for 33070 zip-code residents to use the boat ramp and facilities at Founders Park.
“Those folks live only a couple of miles away. Kids from our communities go to the same schools and hang out together,” Councilman Mike Forster said Tuesday.
“They would do the same for us,” he said. “It’s neighbors helping neighbors, Keys Strong. It’s just the right thing to do.”
Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage to the oceanside Harry Harris Park, off mile marker 92.6. The property also was used to store boats pulled out of nearshore waters.
Founders Park also suffered in the storm, but its bayside location at mile marker 87 helped limit some of the destruction.
For a 90-day period, the Tavernier residents with a 33070 code on their driver’s license can get free park entrance and use the boat ramp. The park also likely will host several Upper Keys Little League games normally played at Harry Harris.
The Ron Levy Aquatic Center will be available for the same $2 to $3 entrance fee paid by Islamorada residents.
Forster took the lead on the issue with the Village Council after attending a packed Tavernier Community Association meeting on the status of Harry Harris Park.
Jenny Miller Flanigan asked at the session if Islamorada would consider sharing Founders Park during the Harry Harris closure.
“’I’m very thankful to Mike Forster and the Islamorada council for embodying the ‘Keys Strong’ spirit by opening Founder’s Park to Tavernier residents,” Flanigan said Tuesday. “Many local families who have been negatively impacted by Hurricane Irma will benefit from this generous show of solidarity from the village of Islamorada.”
In a separate action, Islamorada’s Parks and Recreation Committee and the Village Council approved a permanent waiver of Founders Park entrance fees and the aquatic center for disabled U.S. military veterans and active-duty personnel and their immediate family.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206