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Key West leaders want to buy a $5 million building. They’re going to need permission

Some city officials in Key West say this $5 million building on Northside Drive is a bargain.
Some city officials in Key West say this $5 million building on Northside Drive is a bargain. FLKeysNews.com

Key West wants to buy a New Town building for $5 million. Leaders say it’s a bargain compared to new construction. The city plans to house public works and community services operations there.

But in order to move forward with the purchase, Key West needs permission from the voters — as it does before buying any property, according to the city charter.

A special election is set for Tuesday.

The ballot contains only this one question: Should the city buy 3420 Northside Dr., known for housing the six-day-a-week newspaper The Citizen for $4,950,000?

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Monroe County Supervisor of Elections

The Key West Citizen newspaper plans to relocate, but has not said where its offices are moving.

City Commissioner Sam Kaufman says the purchase would save the city $20 million over something new.

The city’s budget this year had a line item for $29 million for a new building for public works and community services, which now are spread out across the island and next-door Stock Island. Kaufman said the city would spend about $1 million on the Northside Drive building for renovations.

“I was taken aback by the $29 million dollars,” Kaufman said. “If it’s approved it can then allow the city to have the space needed for community services and public works.”

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Early voting, which ends Saturday, is available at the Monroe Supervisor of Elections office at 530 Whitehead St., No. 101. Voting hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

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