Former St. John Administrator Julien Harley, who resigned last month from the St. John Coastal Zone Management Com-mittee, is making good use of his free time.
The native St. Johnian, who is working as a taxi driver a few days a week, has partnered with Kelly Frye of Bay Isle Associates, developer of Grande Bay Resort, to advise Frye on how to be a good island neighbor.
The unusual relationship began when Frye reached out to Harley soon after the former administrator left office in January.
“Mr. Harley and I have had numerous conversations during his administration as to what is the right thing to do,” said Frye.
“Given the change of administration, I felt like a native St. Johnian like Mr. Harley would be the perfect person to give Grande Bay proper guidance as far as what is the best direction for things we can do in the community.”
Steering In Right Direction
Since Bay Isle can’t take care of all the community’s needs, Harley will help steer the developer in the right direction, explained Frye.
“As you might imagine, there are so many needs, and we can’t be everything to everybody,” said Frye. “Mr. Harley is working with me to point us in the right direction. To me, it was very important to do this with the leadership of a St. Johnian like Mr. Harley, because now I can have the confidence that we are doing things for the long-term benefit of the community.”
Frye feels he can count on Harley to ensure he is doing the right thing, the developer added.
“Because of his particular way of viewing things, I have confidence that when Mr. Harley gives direction, we are doing something for the right reason,” said Frye. “There are not many people who were born and raised on St. John, and that’s the motivating factor for me. When Mr. Harley speaks about things Cruz Bay and the island need, then I know that I can rely on it as being the right thing to do.”
Harley and Frye Have History
Harley admitted he used to butt heads with Frye, but decided to work with the developer after seeing his good intentions, the former administrator explained.
“Kelly and I, we go back a while,” said Harley. “Initially, we were at odds, but once I got the chance to find out where his heart is, not only as a developer, but as somebody who wants to do something for the community, that made me feel good. I knew if he was going to put resources into doing something for the island as a whole, that’s where I needed to be, so it was easy to jump on the bandwagon with him.”
Harley hopes to steer Frye toward small projects which will make a difference, such as erecting a tent over the framework at the Cruz Bay Creek, or fixing the fence at the Julius E. Sprauve School ball field, he explained.
Working To Touch People’s Lives
“We are trying to see how we can do things that are tangible, for the benefit of the community, whether it’s painting an area to enhance it, or cleaning up an area,” said Harley. “There are a lot of simple things we can do that would touch people’s lives.
At the same time, we have to let the people know that these developers and businessmen are the driving force behind these changes.”
Harley can likely get more accomplished working with developers and businessmen than he could in his position as administrator, according to Frye.
“Quite frankly, now Mr. Harley can network with business people who can afford to put in the money to help pay for these improvements,” said Frye. “When you’re the administrator looking toward the government, it’s hard to get government funding.”
Harley enjoys both the easier access to funding, and the ability to ensure improvements are being made for the right reasons, the former administrator explained.
Involvement of Community Groups
“The thing is, once you get people to the table who want to do the same thing for the same reason, that makes a difference,” said Harley. “We’re not doing things for the sake of doing them, we’re doing them for the right reason — enhancing St. John not only for St. Johnians, but for tourists, because we are tourism-oriented.”
Harley hopes to involve community groups, including his wife’s Love City Leapers, in the effort to spruce up the island, he explained.
“At some point, I’d like to see some of these organizations involved,” said Harley. “We’ll give them a specific area in Cruz Bay, and tell them, ‘you can adopt this area and you have to keep it clean.’”
Harley envisions local businesses supplying the community groups with tools such as shovels and rakes, he added.
Encouraging More Involvement
“This allows them to take ownership and say, ‘this is my island, and for people to keep coming here, the most important thing is to keep it clean,’” said Harley.
Frye, who has already helped with cleanup of concrete spillage on island roads and vowed to help with a beautification group led by St. John Administrator Leona Smith, hopes to encourage other local businesses to get involved.
“I’ve met with Ms. Smith a few times this year, and last week she gave me some names and phone numbers of local business leaders,” said Frye. “I am going to be reaching out to them just to build that community effort. I think people are going to see things happening in the coming months and years.”