The upcoming changing of the governmental guard may put a number of appropriations made by the 26th Legislature in danger — unless the next island administrator ensures the funds are realized, according to Senator at Large Craig Barshinger, who is throwing his hat into the ring for the position.
Barshinger, who heralded the $4 million appropriation for a parking structure to be constructed near the tennis courts in Cruz Bay, wants to make sure the money gets through, he explained.
“The next administrator of St. John would be the person tasked with shepherding the appropriation through,” Barshinger said. “I talked to the governor-elect and have submitted a resume. I am interested, at the urging of literally dozens of people, in making sure that a planner gets hired, that town meetings continue and that the parking problem gets solved.”
Committed To Strengthening St. John
Barshinger wants to continue to work for the people of St. John, he added.
“I am passionately committed to helping St. John strengthen what it is that makes St. John special and resisting the recent influx of persons who merely want to use St. John for economic gain,” said Barshinger. “I continue to be committed to moving away from an era of top-down patriarchal government to that of a participative democracy where everyone feels comfortable contributing to decisions.”
“People are very free now to let their opinions be known,” Barshinger continued. “That is something that I am very proud of.”
Even if Barshinger is not the next island administrator, he expects whoever gets appointed to the position to work on behalf of the residents of St. John.
“Whoever the next administrator would be, I will be expecting that $4 million appropriation to come through,” said Barshinger.
There has been no new information about the other much talked-about proposed parking structure, vendor’s plaza and possible new U.S. Post Office site — which was slated to be constructed across from the Cruz Bay creek.
“We have been unable to find out anything about the other parking garage,” said Barshinger. “We have been trying to find out what the status is, but it seems to be surrounded by a cloud of mystery.”
“Not Getting Straight Story”
While plans for the vendor’s plaza parking garage have changed over the years, the public is not getting the full story, according to Barshinger.
“One day we were told we couldn’t have any input in the planning and then we were told we’re having a post office there,” said the Senator at Large. “We are not getting the straight story. No one really even knows how much it is going to cost.”
“We were originally told the price tag was $2.9 million, but the governor said in his State of the Territory address last January that he had $4 million for the project,” Barshinger added.
There is likely someone who was in the position to benefit from the project, Barshinger explained.
“The (St. John) administrator didn’t want to say anything about anything,” said Barshinger. “There was very likely something in it for someone. They didn’t want anyone to interfere.”