Moravian Church Official Heralds Plans for Coral Bay Marina Project

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Moravian Church officials are close to unveiling a development plan for their waterfront property which stretches from the ball field to Forstberg behind Guy H. Benjamin School and Skinny Legs Restaurant. Photo by Steve Simonsen

Officials of the Moravian Church are promising an announcement soon on the long-awaited marina proposal for their Coral Bay waterfront property which they assert stretches along the bay’s entire north shore from the ball field along the shoreline behind the Guy H. Benjamin Elementary School, the V.I. Fire Department station and the Skinny Leg’s commercial complex to the mangroves at Fortsberg.

“We’re trying to educate the community that our project is very much alive and is going to be coming to the forefront very soon,” said Samuel Rhymer, territorial property manager for the Moravian Church.

Donation to Rotary Basketball Court Project
Moravian Church officials will be backing up the church’s claim of ownership of the shoreline property with a donation to the St. John Rotary effort to rebuild the Coral Bay basketball courts.

Church officials will make a presentation of an as yet undetermined donation to the basketball court project on April 30 at the weekly St. John Rotary meeting at Ocean Grill restaurant, according to Rhymer — who said the donation would be totaled after the weekend.

While the Moravian Church’s plans for the development of its Coral Bay shoreline property are still a work in progress, the basketball court project is a proverbial first step, according to Rhymer.

“It’s all inter-related,” Rhymer acknowledged of the basketball court project and future development plans for the the church’s property — which will include building a better dock to replace the existing dinghy landing and clearing the waterfront of uses which have not been approved by the Moravian Church, Rhymer said.

No Permission for Uses
“We did not give permission for things to be done on the property,” explained Rhymer. The waterfront property is a complex of containers, shacks and sheds

“We are past that now,” Rhymer said. “We want to show we have a responsibility to the community until things are better.”

While the Moravian church has been reasserting its claim over its property, a stateside developer has secured $1.27 million in federal funds for a marina at an undisclosed location on the south shore of Coral Bay.

St. John Marina; Yacht Club at Summer’s End, LLC, received a $1,273,689 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a marina in Coral Bay, according to an announcement by Delegate to Congress Dr. Donna M. Christensen issued on January 9. The grant actually had been awarded in August 2013.

Competing Marina at Cocolobo?
The principals of the LLC are two Contant residents, Rick Barksdale and Chalise Summers, have not publicly identified the intended location of their project.

The Summer’s End marina will be located on the south shore of Coral Bay across from the Cocolobo commercial complex, a V.I. government official told St. John Tradewinds.

“It’s not an ideal location,” the Moravian Church’s Rhymer said of the Summer’s End proposal for a marina in the shallower south shore waters. “We have a better location.”