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It’s not the same place: Florida Keys reopen, but still need to rebuild

It's not the same place: Florida Keys reopen, but still need to rebuild

  • FLORIDA KEYS – Shortly after 5 p.m on Tuesday, Kim Ackerman closed the gates to the pastel-painted Shell World, a kitschy Key Largo gift shop near the gateway to the Keys.
  • But nearby, a sign of hope gleamed in LED letters over the highway: “U.S. 1 Keys is open to Key West.”
  • On Sunday – three weeks after the storm thrashed the chain of islands, killing 14 and causing tens of millions of dollars in damage – the Keys will officially reopen to tourists.
  • “People are mentally drained, and everybody is so stressed out,” Ackerman said.
  • “But everybody is wanting to get back to work, pay the bills.”


FLORIDA KEYS – Shortly after 5 p.m on Tuesday, Kim Ackerman closed the gates to the pastel-painted Shell World, a kitschy Key Largo gift shop near the gateway to the Keys. She’d seen thre

FLORIDA KEYS – Shortly after 5 p.m on Tuesday, Kim Ackerman closed the gates to the pastel-painted Shell World, a kitschy Key Largo gift shop near the gateway to the Keys.

She’d seen three customers that day.

But nearby, a sign of hope gleamed in LED letters over the highway: “U.S. 1 Keys is open to Key West.”

Hurricane Irma interrupted the party in paradise, but only for a time. On Sunday – three weeks after the storm thrashed the chain of islands, killing 14 and causing tens of millions of dollars in damage – the Keys will officially reopen to tourists.

“People are mentally drained, and everybody is so stressed out,” Ackerman said. “But everybody is wanting to get back to work, pay the bills.”

“Well … ”

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It’s not the same place: Florida Keys reopen, but still need to rebuild

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