Jan. 29, 2006 – The new face of Frederiksted is close to completion. Only a small section of Strand Street remains closed to vehicular traffic as workers continue the arduous task of burying electrical and communications wires. Meanwhile, residents and visitors enjoy leisurely walks along the cobblestone paths during the day or night, thanks to the illumination of dozens of lampposts dotting the six blocks of the newly renovated waterfront area.
On Sunday, Nancy and Steve Sazama and friends Patty and Jerry Holman, all visiting from Wisconsin, were enjoying the afternoon ambiance of the waterfront. The Sazamas have been visiting St. Croix since 1979 and are impressed with the changes.
"It's beautiful, gorgeous," Nancy said. She said the project will bring a needed boost to the island's economy. "I can't wait until the cruise ships come back," she said. The Sazamas own a time share at Hotel on the Cay and come to St. Croix to play golf and "eat at all the good restaurants." They said over the years they have invited many friends to St. Croix. Nancy said her friends have to readjust after visiting the island. "It takes them a long time to get over [the experience], she said."
Deynece Singleton and friends were just finishing Sunday brunch at the Blue Moon Restaurant, located on Strand Street overlooking the sparkling blue waters of Frederiksted. Singleton said she and her friends took a walk along the waterfront before brunch. "It's so relaxing, so nice and beautiful," she said. "I like to see the people sitting on the benches and reading newspapers and doing crossword puzzles."
The Frederiksted Economic Revitalization project was launched in 2002 by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. Local residents gave input on the project through a "design charrette" held in Oct. 2002.
According to Gary Charney, a project manager for Coastal Systems Development, work on Strand Street to bury cables will be completed by Feb. 15, and then the street will be completely open to vehicular traffic. Charney said workers would then begin taking down the overhead electrical and communications cables. He said burying the transformers and other equipment would not require closing the streets; it could be done through manholes.
Work on the V.I. Port Authority buildings on the Ann E. Abramson pier will continue through the summer. Two buildings are being erected: one is an air-conditioned cruise ship passenger reception area and the other is an office that could be used for the Seaplane and a generator room. Charney said the shortage of concrete has held up work on the buildings.
Coastal Systems Development President Harvey Sasso, Public Finance Authority Director Kenneth Mapp and Sen. Neville James recently conducted a walk-through of the Frederiksted pier and waterfront renovations.
Senator James, in a press release, said the renovations "gives visitors a first-class impression of St. Croix." James, the chair of the Economic Development, Planning and Environmental Protection Committee, said the new waterfront can "hold its own with any other Caribbean destination in the world."
The waterfront renovations stretch for about one-quarter mile from the south wall of Fort Frederik to the Ingerborg Nesbitt Clinic parking lot. The design is a multi-use visitor-friendly area that combines form and function. Special areas include the clock tower and vendors square, Star Plaza, the entertainment center and Veterans Plaza. For more detailed information, see "Frederiksted Will Rise Again."
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