As the Village Council returned to its regular meeting schedule last month, one longtime resident and wife of a Council member sought to put senior citizens’ issues on the front burner for local leaders.
Ann Taintor, wife of Council member Jim Taintor, on Tuesday, August 26, urged elected leaders to make a senior center a top priority – something she said other communities around the country have already done. “While other cities welcome, respect and treasure their seniors, that doesn’t seem to be the case for some Council members,” she remarked.
“Remember – we’re all aging, whether we like it or not.”
Meanwhile, in other news August 26, the Council approved a grant for the Village Green, heard an update on plans for a traffic study and reviewed a recent Florida League of Cities meeting.
Ann Taintor said senior issues should be a top priority for the Council, and the top priority for local seniors is to have their own facility for programming and activities: “It was our goal, always, to have our own building,” she said.
Taintor said after the Active Seniors on the Key organization formed in 2009, members settled for a single room in the Key Biscayne Community Center because they knew it would be a long time until the Council could move forward with a senior center.
Since then, Taintor said, ASK has grown by leaps and bounds – it’s so successful, in fact, that founder Ed Stone has been asked to help set up similar programs in other communities.
With the guidance of the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, ASK’s positive trend should only increase, according to Taintor, and seniors from all walks of life will continue to benefit from its programs and the camaraderie they provide.
Therefore, Taintor said, the Council needs to take the group’s needs seriously – and stop what she sees as sniping by some local leaders. Taintor closed her remarks with an invitation for local leaders to attend ASK’s offerings and see what it’s all about “before you’re so quick to criticize.”
Village Green grant
In other news August 26, the Council accepted a $50,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for improvements to the Village Green facilities and field.
The Florida Recreation for Development Assistance Program grant, which the Village has used in the past, does not require a local match.
In response to Council member Michael Kelly, Parks and Recreation Director Todd Hofferberth said the grant will cover a number of projects, including upgrades to picnic facilities, pavilions, playgrounds, restrooms, fields, landscaping, parking and benches.
Traffic study RFP
Elsewhere, Council member Taintor asked for an update on a traffic study Request for Proposals. The Council originally planned to work with The Corradino Group on a Village-wide traffic study suggested by Taintor, but then issued an RFP after several local leaders expressed concern at the lack of competitive bidding.
Village Attorney Steve Helfman said he’s finalizing a draft of the RFP and should have it in front of Council members within a month. Village Manager John Gilbert said local leaders will be asked for a decision after this month’s budget hearings, although he will attempt to have a cost estimate for the project included in the budget.
Taintor said he’ll make sure the project moves forward: “I don’t want this thing to be just be put off, put off, put off,” he remarked.
League of Cities
Finally, Mayor Frank Caplan applauded a recent Florida League of Cities meeting held on the Key, calling it a successful session that highlighted the community well.
“It was a great turnout and a very substantive meeting, and I think Key Biscayne showed itself to great credit,” Caplan said.
He thanked Vice Mayor Michael Davey and Council member Theo Holloway for attending the meeting, held at the Grand Bay.