The lack of adequate parking at Maho Bay, which often leads to cars parking haphazardly and obstructing the roadway, will be a thing of the past when the V.I. National Park constructs parking lots with approximately 50 spaces this summer during renovation of the beach’s facilities.
Years after the project was first put on the drawing board, renovations to the Maho Bay beach pavilion have been funded — although further funding will be needed to complete the project — and scheduled to begin in June of this year.
The design, planning and compliance procedures were completed many years ago for parking and pavilion improvements, restrooms and parking for approximately 50 cars.
“The design phase has been completed and the funding component is approved, but it’s underfunded,” said V.I. National Park Superintendent Mark Hardgrove. “We’re currently putting in another updated request to increase the funding level to allow us to negotiate a design build contract with a local company out of St. Thomas.”
The National Park Service will pull the extra money from fees collected in the VINP, and Hardgrove feels confident the Maho Bay project will be fully funded, he added.
The existing pavilion will be restored and expanded, and an independent structure will be built to house restrooms. Satellite parking for approximately 25 cars will be constructed at the beach’s east end, and there will be parking for an additional 25 cars at Maho’s west end.
Picnic tables and grills will be installed, and the finished product will be similar to facilities found at Hawksnest, according to Hardgrove. The project is expected to cost less than $500,000.
Hardgrove estimated the entire renovation process would take seven to eight months.
“We hope to have it ready for next season,” he said.
During the renovation, which will be managed by VINP Facilities Manager Keith Macneir, residents and tourists can expect the beach to remain open and accessible.
“Parking will always be accessible,” said Hardgrove. “We’re working hard to keep the access open for all people.”