I have always been intrigued at how improving our Island’s amenities tends to push panic buttons among certain members in our community. I am seeing it happen again and again.
Look at what’s happening now with the project to improve our outdated library.
Remember the opposition to opening a big hotel in the Key?: “It will be bad for local businesses.” Interesting that those who opposed it are now dancing to the beat of live conga music at the Ritz Happy Hour every weekend.
And how about our Community Center? Remember the opposition to its construction?: “Why an Olympic pool when condos and homes have pools in their backyards?” “No need for exercise classes. Local businesses already offer them.” "Summer camps make no sense ... schools have them.” "No need for such a big construction." Sound familiar? The opposition was so bad that construction was stopped.
Had it not been for Mayor Oldakowski and his supporters, we would not have now a Community Center which to our residents means so much more than just classes and an Olympic pool. It has brought, and continues to bring, our community together.
And yet … here we go again … an updated library is already spiking fears of ominous government office spaces and even a homeless shelter! Really? It’s just a library. No need to panic.
Let’s all remember when the Community Center’s original project was downsized due to public pressure and what an expensive mistake that was. Another floor had to be added a few years later.
Let’s hope local government remembers that when they consider the architectural plans for our new library.
And so … let’s put the local business rhetoric aside and grab a wonderful opportunity for the Key.
Let’s all get excited and welcome into our community a new state of the art library.
Oria Perez Upegui