June 14, 2001 – St. John Administrator Julien Harley had a full slate of issues and a host of officials to discuss them at a packed town meeting Wednesday night in the Marketplace third-floor meeting hall. Most of the topics fall under the purview of the recently formed Gateway Planning Council, on which Harley serves.
V.I. National Park Supt. John King, also a member, provided background on the council and its mission. Four years ago, he said, the National Park Service received authority from Congress to establish the Gateway Community Initiative, a program to assist towns that serve as "gateways" to national parks in coping with the impact of park visitors on their communities.
"We can provide professional planning assistance, as we have in the past, and we can provide financial resources," King said. As far as the progress to date in developing a Gateway concept for Cruz Bay, "I'm excited about the level of support, degree of interest and active involvement of the community," he said.
Following King's presentation, Harley reviewed recent St. John developments:
– On May 25, the Coastal Zone Management permit for a Pond Bay resort development was withdrawn, effectively killing the proposal as it stands. "The whole process must start from scratch if the developers are interested in pursuing it," Harley said.
– Forms for all business having to do with the Lieutenant Governor's Office are now available at The Battery in Cruz Bay, so that island residents no longer need to go to St. Thomas to pick them up. And all government operations having to do with financial matters are to be consolidated at a single locale.
– The Tourism office will be moved to the site of the former health clinic in order to free up space for the post office expansion.
– Efforts are under way to establish a fish market in Cruz Bay with at least three bays.
– The Property and Procurement Department is in the process of forcing Innovative Telephone (formerly V.I. Telephone Corp.) out of the government-owned office space in Cruz Bay for which the phone company pays $1 a year in rent.
– There are proposals to construct a paid-parking garage in downtown Cruz Bay. Harley said he would like to see a not-for-profit organization operate it.
Another Gateway Planning Council member, Chris Angel, a professional planner, presented an overview of proposals to upgrade Cruz Bay Park. They include constructing "island stone" seating walls, removing low curbs surrounding the dirt area, relocating certain plantings and the "Freedom" sculpture, and installing benches made from recycled wood and cast metal.
The cost is projected to be $75,000 to $100,000. One idea to raise funds for the project, Angel said, is to sell bricks that would be engraved with sponsors' names and laid in the park.
"Our goal is to make the park a lot more attractive and use friendly," Angel said.
Although the government owns the park space, Angel said, talks are under way with St. John hotel officials about contributing to its upkeep.
Darlin Brin, Port Authority senior planner, reported on the status of the $16 million Enighed marine terminal project. He said all required local and federal permits are in hand. "The problem," he said, "is we have no funds. The administration either has to float bonds or request that the federal government provide the funding."
The terminal is intended to relieve marine traffic in Cruz Bay harbor by diverting cargo vessels and barges to Enighed Pond. Brin said the project calls for a 600-foot bulkhead, a turn-around area, marine support facilites and office space for federal inspectors and Port Authority personnel.


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