Home News Local news HANSEN URGES GOVERNOR TO JOIN PARKING LOT SUIT

HANSEN URGES GOVERNOR TO JOIN PARKING LOT SUIT

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The 30 days a District Court judge gave Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen to prove whether the local or federal government owns the property on which the Christiansted National Historic Site sits runs out on Nov. 1.
With that in mind, Hansen’s legal counsel, attorney Amelia Joseph, asked Gov. Charles Turnbull in a letter Thursday to join Hansen’s suit. As of Thursday evening it was unclear what the administration’s plans are.
At the end of September Hansen was granted a temporary restraining order in District Court against the National Park Service’s plan to turn a 12-space parking lot in downtown Christiansted into a park.
The Park Service wants to turn the asphalt area between the Scale House and the wall that surrounds the Post Office into a 4,200-square-foot lawn with an information kiosk, benches and palm trees.
Hansen claims that the property that the Park Service manages, which includes Fort Christiansvaern, the Scale House, Customs House and Steeple Building, is owned by the V.I. government. The Park Service disputes the claim.
A few days after granting the restraining order last month, District Court Judge Raymond Finch reversed his decision, noting that only the governor can take legal action on behalf of the V.I. government. Finch questioned whether Hansen, acting as a private citizen, had standing in the case.
Finch gave Hansen and Joseph 30 days to prove ownership and convince Turnbull to join the suit. If he doesn’t, the case will be dismissed.
On Thursday, Joseph said she had historical documents that show that when Denmark transferred ownership of the Virgin Islands to the U.S. government much of the property in question went to the municipal government.
"There is a deed that indicates this property belongs to the local government," Joseph said in a radio interview Thursday where she urged the governor to sign his name to the lawsuit. "There is a chance now to make a decision once and for all who owns this property."
The new park project would complete the Park Service’s controversial move of April 1998 that turned the 70-space King’s Wharf lot into a grassy park. That project spurred similar protests from former Gov. Roy Schneider, who also claimed the V.I. government owned the property. He later backed off those claims.
Both Hansen and Schneider argued that downtown businesses would be hurt by the lack of parking. Christiansted National Historic Site Superintendent Joel Tutein, however, argued that most of the parking at the King’s Wharf lot was being used by employees and business owners.

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