Cannot Do Coral Bay Basketball Court Repairs

Rotary Club of St. John Press Release – Sept 16, 2016

Since 2005, Coral Bay community groups have tried to get permission from the Moravian Conference to repair the Coral Bay basketball court. The Conference and the current proposed developer with a lease, T-Rex St. John, LLC, have always cited liability concerns for refusing permission to proceed with the repairs. In the meantime, our kids continued to play using the crooked backboards and our community continued to hold events on the crumbling surface. In 2014, T-Rex and the Moravian Church Conference, in cooperation with the Government of the Virgin Islands, finally agreed on the operation and liability of the basketball court in Coral Bay, (until T-Rex builds the new court as specified in its development plan). This agreement allowed the Rotary Club of St. John to sponsor a fundraising drive to repair the court.

More than $40,000 was raised, and club members and volunteers demolished the rotten bleachers, got bids and DPNR approval, purchased and shipped the backboards and were on the verge of contracting for the paving of the court. The anticipation was palpable. Unfortunately–and as hard as it is to understand–in April of this year, the VI Government and the Moravian Church Conference terminated their agreement to have the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation operate the Coral Bay basketball court. The Rotary Club of St. John approached the Moravian Church Conference for permission to go ahead with the repairs anyway since the funds had been raised, (and since no development has begun), but was turned down.

“It is a great disappointment that no way could be found, to complete these basketball court repairs for the youth of Coral Bay. Instead Rotary has had to contact the generous donors and either redirect or refund their contributions. This basketball court repair should have been a no-brainer—a quick fix to offer several years of safe use for our kids. Until, of course, the big development comes, and the promised brand new court is built…“ said Rotary President B. J. Harris, “…we thank everyone for their support and hard work, and hope to find good homes for the already- purchased beautiful new, high quality backboards and poles—some place our kids can shoot hoops and have good clean fun.”

For further information, contact B.J. Harris, President, Rotary Club of St. John – 340-513-4670.