The City of Key West, Florida

The Southernmost City in th Continental United States

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Mayor Cates's Final Meeting

commission honor  key to city

Key West City staff, the City Commission and the community bid outgoing Mayor Craig Cates a heartfelt goodbye during the mayor's final meeting Tuesday. He tearfully thanked everyone for a successful decade in office.

During a surprise recognition, he received several honors. The entire City Commission presented a commendation for Mayor Cates and the First Lady Cheryl Cates for their unflagging dedication to the community.

“Mayor Cates was elected five times by the people of Key West,” reads the commendation. “During this time he was a champion of the Key West City Hall, the Truman Waterfront Park including the amphitheater, affordable housing solutions and quality of life issues.”

Throughout the mayor’s tenure, the First Lady was “an ever-present force” in support of every action and event with Mayor Cates while continuing to be a dedicated volunteer and board member for numerous community causes.

“This team worked tirelessly,” continues the commendation, “far beyond the community’s expectations to do the will of the people of Key West,” leaving a solid legacy for the future.

That legacy, said Key West Mayor Emeritus Dennis Wardlow, should be honored by bestowing the honorarium of emeritus upon Mayor Cates. Wardlow, who served as mayor for 12 years in the 1980s and 1990s, received the honor for, in part, seceding from the Union in 1982 and founding the Conch Republic.

The students of Poinciana School presented the mayor with a painting of a Poinciana tree, its red flowers made of the students’ fingerprints. Presented by 5th graders Molly McKnight and Jake Ferguson, the gift was in appreciation of the mayor’s successful effort of making the Poinciana the official tree of the city.

“And thank you for showing our students,” said Jake, “that their voice matters and that they have the power to make a difference in our community.”

“I’ll cherish this forever,” said Cates.

City Manager Jim Scholl wrapped up the farewell ceremony by presenting Mayor Cates the Key to the City.

“This is from the City staff,” said Scholl. “This is your city and you need a key to your city. You’re always welcome.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you everybody,” said a tearful Cates. “It’s been an honor.”