With just a few more bricks to go, renovations to Franklin Powell Park were expected to wrap up last week, welcome to news to Cruz Bay businesses.
After facing delays due to logistics issues and rainy weather, renovations to the Franklin Powell Sr. Park were expected to be finally completed last week.
The renovation process began on Monday, February 7, and it was anticipated that work would be completed by June 14, in time for St. John Festival events.
While that deadline was not met, construction at the park did not have a huge impact on Festival, explained St. John Administrator and Festival Committee president Leona Smith.
“It did affect us somewhat in regards to having less space, but overall, everything worked out well,” said Smith. “The contractor allowed us to use the bandstand for Food Fair, which was really good. And the vendors, who were moved over by Nature’s, said that was actually a better location because of the cruise ship passengers coming in at the Creek.”
The new park features benches which are uncomfortable to lie down on, in an effort to address the long-standing problem of homeless people sleeping in the park.
The utilities have been buried, and planters and an ADA-compliant accessible ramp were constructed. There will likely no longer be space for vendors in the park in the future either, Smith explained.
A new temporary location for vendors is being sought, she added.
Sporting new walkways and benches, above, Frank Powell Park should be open to the public this week after five months of renovations.
The work was done by Apex Construction, and was overseen by the Department of Public Works. Maintenance of the newly renovated Frank Powell Park will fall under the discretion of the Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation.
“These renovations were long overdue,” said Smith of the approximately $300,000 project. “It really needed updating. You can look forward to a brighter park, which will be a nice attraction for visitors coming off the ferry dock.”
Residents, visitors, and owners of businesses who were impacted by the construction are excited to see the finished project, Smith added.
“Everybody is eager to have it open so they can go and relax there,” she said. “Locals are really looking forward to it being open, and the businesses that were impacted are glad as well. It’s a big plus for all of us.”
Renovating the park is just one of many capital improvements that are moving forward under the deJongh administration, according to Smith.
Also in the works on St. John are a fish market, renovations to the Pine Peace basketball court and renovations to Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation’s Cruz Bay center.
“We are moving in the right direction,” said Smith.