Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Duval Street Committee

For the past few months Janet has been taking part in a committee, the Duval Street Committee, that is looking at ways that the community can improve Duval Street and make it more attractive for residents and tourists alike. The committee arose from a Duval Street Summit convened this past winter by the current Mayor and by the (then) recently-elected City Commissioner Barry Gibson. As a merchant in Old Town himself, with a shop in the 300 block of Duval St., Gibson volunteered to work with his fellow merchants to see what moves they would be willing to go along with.

The DSC is chaired by former Mayor Jimmy Weekley and includes a cadre of citizens who share an opinion that Duval St. has grown "seedy". The group has been meeting regularly on Wednesdays at City Hall. They are organizing a demonstration project that would close Duval St. between Virginia St. and United St. for one or two evenings in August or September for a few evening hours. Restaurants would be invited to set up sidewalk caf├ęs during that time and other merchants would be invited to join in in various ways. This wouldn't be a street fair; Key West has plenty of those. Rather, it would be an attempt to discover whether real Key Westers, i.e., the ones who actually live here, can be enticed to come back downtown and spend some quality time with their friends and neighbors.

Christine Russell, a member of the DSC, recently sent a link to this web site, Projects for Public Places, which fosters, supports and showcases what other places have done to make their downtowns more attractive places. Here's one I particularly like

The committee will make its recommendation to the Commission sometime in August.

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