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Navy Transfers 33 Acres of Property to City of Key West

Navy Newsstand

12/3/2002 10:50:00 AM

By Journalist 2nd Class Rob Wesselman, NAF Key West Public Affairs

KEY WEST, Fla. (NNS) -- Adm. Robert J. Natter, Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, along with Rear Adm. Annette E. Brown, Commander, Navy Region Southeast, and Key West Mayor Jimmy Weekley recently participated in a land-transfer signing ceremony at the Key West Museum of Arts and History.

The ceremony marked a no-cost conveyance of nearly 33 acres of property, the East Quay, eight buildings and various other structures and personal property on Naval Air Facility (NAF) Key West's Truman Annex from the Navy to the city of Key West.

After NAF Key West Commanding Officer Capt. Lawrence S. Cotton welcomed the guests, both Natter and Weekley took time to share a few words before moving on to the actual document signing.

The planning for the conveyance began August of 1995, when President Clinton accepted the Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission's recommendation to realign Naval Air Station Key West to a Naval Air Facility. As a result, the installation was directed to dispose of all property not required to support its operational commitments.

According to Natter, the property conveyance reinforces the already good relationship between the Navy and the city of Key West. "One hundred and eighty years ago, the Navy built a small settlement in Key West, and we have had a great relationship with the citizens ever since - one where we are not only respected, but well-liked in the neighborhood," Natter said. "This land transfer is one of many ways the Navy lends its support to the local community."

The land transfer, according to Weekley, was a win-win situation. "This is a day the citizens of Key West have been looking forward to for some time. The green space this land transfer represents will certainly increase the quality of life for our citizens," Weekley added. In conjunction with the property transfer, NAF Key West plans to replace 2,600 linear feet of cyclone fencing that currently separates its property from the city of Key West's property.

The project calls for a more aesthetically pleasing wrought iron fence to be erected where the old fence now sits. The new fence will look similar to those the Navy has already put up near Bahama Village and the Southernmost Point.

NAF Key West resident officer in charge of construction has awarded the $578,600 contract to Sauer Inc. The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2003.

Now that the land parcel has transferred, to comply with public safety mandates and city property liability insurance requirements, both the city and Navy will implement new security procedures. While the new procedures may at times restrict access to the properties (including the pier and small beach area), the Navy and the city will work together to restore access as quickly as possible.

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