One question no one seems to be asking about the proposed school land in Catherineberg is, “What was the owner’s intention for the land?” I see it as insulting and shameful that a mere year after the death of Ethel May Bishop, people are scrapping over her gift to the VINP like stray dogs at a butcher’s dumpster, trying to redefine what her intentions were, deciding if the parcel could “legally” be taken from the Park and used for another purpose. Why not respect the deceased woman’s wishes, and leave this property to the Park, where she (obviously) felt it belonged? I see her gift as a very noble statement; deeding her property to the Park rather than selling it off to developers to tear apart into half-acre parcels and exploit yet another portion of the island.
I hope Mrs. Bishop’s presence looking down upon your actions will give you pause before you launch the next assault on her gift.
If the school is interested in a land lease, why not lease all the land across from Paradise Lumber where Sirenusa is currently dumping a million truckloads of dirt, and not offend anyone?
And it wouldn’t take 55 acres, as some groups are claiming — sure, the “researched” numbers might make sense for three independent schools in the states, with 300 children per grade. But combining three campuses into one should save greatly, as amenities like auditoriums, ball fields, parking, and administration could be shared between the schools.
Also, St. John has just over 300 children in public school altogether. This needs to be a small, efficient campus to match its small student body. The last thing we need is to import more St. Thomas kids (and their associated gang affiliations and violence) just to make a huge St. John school viable.
Name Withheld by Request
According to public records of the transaction, Ethel May Bishop sold her land to the V.I. National Park for $242,000 in 1968. The terms of the sale included the restriction that future uses or development of the land must be authorized by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. It should also be noted, that the letter writer has ownership in land in Estate Adrian.