City of Key West Bight Management District Board!


Local community champions are often overlooked. In dedication to the Key West Conchs who notoriously strive to provide selflessness, this blog pays homage to seven prominent individuals in the Key West community. While generating significant attention towards the history and preservation at one of the most beautiful locations within the City of Key West, the Key West Bight Management District Board is made up of community leaders whose public generosity continues to promote and protect the Key West Historic Seaport legacy. 

For the seven individuals who dedicate themselves to the Key West Bight Management District Board, community involvement could not ring truer.  Within the best interest of the City and its citizens, their duty is to oversee management, preservation and the development of the 20-acre facility best known as the Key West Historic Seaport. 

Each of the Bight Management District Board members demonstrates a devoted interest in community service from many professional disciplines including Legal, Banking, Historic Preservation, Maritime, Real Estate and Commerce. Through each Board member’s commitment,  our Key West Historic Seaport thrives due to their hard work and dedication from behind the Key West scenes. Each Board member is equipped with historical knowledge, a love for the City of Key West and has a long list of accolades in each of their arsenals. 

Leading the Bight Management District Board is Chairman Michael Knowles who is now serving his third term. Mr. Knowles, the General Manager at one of the largest hotels in the Florida Keys, oversees the DoubleTree Resort and Spa in Key West. Demonstrating an understanding of the travel and hospitality industry, Mr. Knowles has a keen insight into Commerce and has displayed leadership for a modern yet preserved and thriving Historic Seaport. The Key West Historic Seaport has honored its past and held on to its character while evolving into 20-acres of world-class dining, one of a kind shops, live music, museums, year-round events and a variety of watersports and fishing excursions. 

Vice-chairman, Mr. Steve Henson, is a fourth-generation Conch who is serving in his second term on the Bight Management District Board. Vice-chairman Henson demonstrates an avid understanding of Historic Preservation and a locals-only knowledge of Key West’s vast maritime history. Mr. Henson is a treasure-trove of information and a wonderful storyteller of our City’s legendary past. Located in Old Town Key West, the Historic Seaport has held onto its roots through its preservation efforts. 

Ms. Kathryn Ovide is serving her third-year term on the Bight Management District Board.  Ms. Ovide was born and raised in Key West. She and her husband, Michael, have been married for forty-nine years and are both considered Salt Water Conchs. When she was younger, Ms. Ovide parents would take her to the Bight to watch shrimp and fishing boats unload their daily catches. She enjoys being with her family and growing orchids. She proudly grows the rare, original “Bird Peppers” which are known for their heat in Conch Fritters and Bollos. Numerous Conchs call on her for starter plants or for a handful of ripe peppers in which she is always glad to share! 

Ms. Ovide stated, “My service on the Historic Seaport Board reflects my commitment to serve my community.  When voters approved the bond to purchase the Historic Bight, they entrusted the City leaders to preserve the historic elements of the Seaport. The Bight Board’s role is to be a liaison for the community and tenants on behalf of the City Commission.  The Board is comprised of talented members who share a common goal.” 

Mr. J. Jon Ashby, who is serving his third term on the Bight Management District Board, has demonstrated his expertise in business, real property and an understanding of various legal matters. His astute involvement and oversight of one of our City’s gems are well received by tenants and visitors of the Historic Seaport. With a wide variety of Historic Seaport tenants, our Seaport has an endless list of activities for locals and visitors to choose from.

Mr. Bill Langley is the Principal Broker of Berkshire Hathaway Keys Real Estate and Knight & Gardner Realty in Key West. Mr. Langley is in his first term and demonstrates an interest in Real Estate in which he represents for the City of Key West. It is because of his passion for the Florida Keys Community that Bill was designated an “Honorary Conch” by former Key West Mayor Craig Cates. His passion has paved the way and given him the opportunity to serve as the 2018 and 2019 President of the Key West Association of Realtors and as an appointed member of the Key West Bight Management Board (City Seaport). 

A true champion for the Historic Seaport tenants, Mr. Barry Gibson gives his time and demonstrates an interest as a local business representative.  Mr. Gibson is serving his first term on the Bight Management District Board. He works for a prominent law firm in the City of Key West and brings a vast knowledge of local business and commerce to the table.  Marveling in the Historic Seaports picturesque beauty, numerous people frequent Lazy Way Lane or stroll along the Harborwalk Waterfront each and every day and enjoy all the sights and sounds that our Seaport has to offer. 

Mr. Danny Hughes, is in his first term and demonstrates an interest in Maritime History and sound construction practices in which he represents on the Bight Management District Board. Mr. Hughes is the successful owner of Two Friends Patio Resturant located on Front Street in Key West. Two Friends Patio Restaurant has been a long-standing staple in Key West.  In 1941, Two Friends hired the first female bartender in Key West and in the 1980’s the widely popular Mel Fisher was a longtime regular at the famous restaurant. It was at Two Friends Patio where Mel Fisher first showcased two large treasure hauls from the Atocha filled with $450 Million in recovered treasures from the ocean floor. 

As stated by the City of Key West, “The City Commission finds that the management, preservation, and redevelopment of the Key West Bight property owned by the City is a public purpose and further finds that the public purpose can be best achieved by the creation of the Key West Bight Management District Board.  The Board has the power and duty to oversee the management, preservation, and development of the City’s property at Key West Bight for the best interest of the City and its citizens.

With such a well-rounded group of industry leaders at the helm overseeing the Bight’s future, we can rest assured the Key West Historic Seaport will remain true to its past.  With hundreds of thousands of visitors frequenting the Historic Seaport each year, it is safe to say the Historic Seaport is one of the most popular locations on the island. With the days freshest catch right at your fingertips, visitors spoil themselves with the best seafood while enjoying all the Historic Seaport has to offer. Whether you come to enjoy live music, breathtaking sunsets or just a peaceful stroll along the Harborwalk Waterfront, the leadership of the Bight Management District Board plays an invaluable part in ensuring a successful future for the Historic Seaport. Key West Historic Seaport: Your Gateway to Everything Key West!

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