VIPA “Misplaced” Bids for Dinghy Dock Repair Work, Says Administrator Smith

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Bids to repair the severely damaged Cruz Bay dinghy docks were misplaced by the V.I. Port Authority.

V.I. Port Authority officials have “misplaced” the bids received to repair the severely damaged dinghy docks in Cruz Bay, St. John Administrator Leona Smith told a dozen people at the St. John Chapter meeting of the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday evening, January 25.

The docks were damaged in high surf during tropical storms in the fall and are missing many planks, leaving gaping holes. While VIPA officials had expressed an intent to rebuild the docks, a quick repair in the meantime could make the docks safe to use, according to St. John Chamber Chapter members.

“There is someone willing to pay for the lumber and a licensed contractor willing to do the work,” Chamber board member Kate Norfleet told Smith. “We could form a public and private partnership to have this completed for this season — just to repair it and make it safe to use this season.”

Smith pledged to email VIPA board members and see if work on the dock could commence quickly.

The long-planned Frank Powell Park renovations are slated to begin on February 7 with Apex Construction contracted to do the work, according to Smith.

The Cruz Bay park will be fenced off for the duration of the renovations, which should be completed in early June, Smith explained.

The upcoming annual St. John Arts Festival, planned for February 19 through 25, will likely be moved from the Frank Powell Park to the V.I. National Park ball field, the administrator added.

 

Chamber Chapter members were given the okay by Department of Public Works officials to take the lead in landscaping design of the Cruz Bay roundabout, Norfleet told the group.

St. John Architect Glen Speer has drawn sketches and will share his plans with the group in the future, explained Norfleet.

“He has a great proposal with little circles and low walls to sit on and brick and native stone,” said Norfleet. “We’ll have to raise the funds to pay for it, but it’s a chance to make the area more creative and inspiring. Glen is working on the topo (topographic design) and budget and we’ll bring that to the group.”

The local chamber’s long-awaited updated member directory — which had not been updated since 2001 — will be ready by February, according to Norfleet.

“There was a lot of work to do, but this is critical to the success of the organization,” she said. “This will be done by the first week of February and we’ll get it up on our website.”

Water taxi signs which were paid for by chamber members and were hung at the Red Hook marine facility, the Cyril E. King Airport and the Loredon Boynes Ferry Dock in Cruz Bay were all removed, Norfleet told the group.

Chamber members want to see about getting them back up in order to inform late-arriving guests how to travel to St. John after the ferry service stops running.

The group will continue to press for information about Cruz Bay security cameras and how to obtain additional cameras, according to chamber members.

Jennifer Knowles and Denise Barbier, owners of the Island Treasure Map, will host a Business After Hours at Palm Passage in Charlotte Amalie on February 10 to launch their new St. Thomas map. Chamber members also expressed an interest to host another Business After Hours on St. John.

Board of directors of the local chamber listen to St. John concerns, according to board member Don Porter.

“The St. Thomas board of directors are very supportive of St. John,” said Porter. “We brought up the issue of the downtown ferry service, which is not running regularly, and they signed on to a resolution to have the Public Services Commission be able to have the option to seek someone else to provide the service if the ferry companies don’t want to.”

The group continues to seek additional members to give it a greater voice and help serious funding shortfalls. For more information about joining the local chamber call Norfleet at 693-9099. The group’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 22, at 5:30 p.m. at Ocean Grill Upstairs.