Sept. 4, 2001 – Thanks to a $3 million appropriation from a federal fund, numerous recreation facilities on St. Thomas and St. Croix have new energy-efficient lighting. And there's more to come.
V.I. Energy Office director Victor Somme said the change from conventional lighting will save the Housing, Parks and Recreation Department lots of money.
Roy Canton, the department's supervisor of planning and maintenance, said he hadn't "crunched the numbers" to determine the total savings. However, he said, as an example, it costs $11 to $12 an hour to light Paul E. Joseph Stadium on St. Croix with conventional lighting. At the similarly sized D.C. Canegata Ball Park, the department spends $4 to $5 an hour for energy-efficient lighting.
Somme said the money was appropriated from a fund created when a federal court ruled that U.S. oil companies had overcharged when selling oil in the 1970s and 1980s. Money that the oil companies put into the fund is disbursed periodically to states and territories.
The Housing, Parks and Recreation conversion to energy-efficient lighting for recreational facilities began several years ago. On St. Thomas, Phase 1 involved the installation of new lights at Lionel Roberts Stadium, the ball fields in Smith Bay and Kirwan Terrace, and the Winston Raymo Center. On St. Croix, Phase 1 lighting installation was at D.C. Canegata Ball Park, AA baseball field, LBJ basketball and volleyball courts, Mon Bijou basketball court, and the Renhold Jackson Complex softball field, basketball court and volleyball court. In addition, solar lighting was installed at the Fort Frederick playground.
Phase 2 is scheduled for completion on Oct. 1. It has involved the installation on St. Thomas of energy-efficient lights at Joseph Aubain and Emile Griffith Ball Parks and at the Charlotte Amalie High School racetrack. On St. Croix, Phase 2 has brought new lighting to the Education Complex track and field facility, the Horace Clark tennis courts, and the basketball and tennis courts at Stoney Ground, D.C. Canegata, LaValle, Glynn and Princess communities.
Somme said as soon as the new fiscal year starts, on Oct. 1, decisions will be made on what projects will be included in Phase 3.
If Housing, Parks and Recreation can secure a long-term lease on the basketball court and baseball field in St. John's Coral Bay, Canton said, the department may make energy-efficient improvements to those facilities. Currently, the lights often stay on all night because no one turns off the switch. The Moravian Church owns the property. Somme said lease negotiations are under way.


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