CBCC Invites Public to Share More Ideas for New Community Facilities

View of Coral Bay, St. John

The Coral Bay Community Council (CBCC) will be hosting another meeting from 6-7 p.m., Wednesday, May 22, at the TBD Restaurant (formerly Wok on the Beach) to continue identifying needs and designing new community facilities. All are invited, including government agencies, nonprofits and professionals to share their visions and be involved in the planning process for new community facilities located in Coral Bay.

Many great ideas have been shared since the first two meetings that were held in April, and CBCC is looking forward to hearing many more before moving to the next steps of the planning process. These community meetings are the first steps of the process that CBCC is facilitating under a $190,000 project, with a $150,000 USDA Community Facilities-Disaster Recovery grant, and at least $40,000 in community in-kind matching funding.

CBCC applied for this grant after the 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria left Coral Bay with no public meeting spaces or functional government facilities of any kind, not even a working fire station.

“It has been apparent how much a community facility is needed,” said Rachel McKinley, the manager of the project. “Since the storms, a major limiting factor to host community events has been the venue. We are very lucky and grateful that we have such a giving community of businesses that have been hosting additional community events over the past year and half.”

The businesses: Pickles in Paradise, Miss Lucy’s, Skinny Legs, Wok on the Beach (now TBD Restaurant) and Indigo Grill (now Rhumb Lines) have hosted community events such as meetings, presentations, workshops, yard sales, a plant swap and a book share that otherwise would be held in a community center. To accommodate these events, restaurant owners closed off a section of their tables, stayed open late, or opened on days they were closed (many of which on their only day off during the week), and sometimes at the last minute.

The May 22nd meeting is being held during dinner hours, so residents (including children and teens) will have an opportunity participate after work and school and can enjoy patronizing the TBD restaurant for dinner and drinks before, after or during the discussion. Light snacks also will be provided during this hour-long meeting.

Before taking the next steps in the planning process, CBCC is giving the St. John community another opportunity to discuss ideas about the types of services and multi-use facilities that will improve the quality of life for St. John residents. Although these facilities are intended to be located in Coral Bay, they will be available to serve everyone.

This initial phase of the Community Facilities Planning Project will result in three to five concepts that will be further discussed with the community in the next few months, which include developing feasible operations and management models. In the second phase, preliminary designs and permit application studies will be prepared for two of these concepts.

The design process will involve local professionals, such as planners, architects, engineers, lawyers, surveyors, archaeologists and biologists. CBCC will research and apply for grant opportunities for capital funding to develop the facilities on behalf of the future operator of each facility. These actual new community facilities may be owned and run by the V.I. government, other nonprofit organizations or CBCC.

Those who have good ideas for community facilities — like meeting centers, athletic fields, adult education classrooms, emergency and government services center, etc., please come to this meeting to share that vision.

CBCC has also reached out to a number of government agencies and other nonprofits to ask for their participation in this overall project, and it looks forward to active partnerships being developed.

Anyone who cannot make it to the meeting can still offer ideas or follow the project’s progress at CBCC’s webpage at: https://CoralBayCommunityCouncil.org/Community-Facilities/

For more information or to make an appointment, call CBCC at 776-2099 and ask for Rachel McKinley, or send ideas by email to Plan@CoralBayCommunityCouncil.org.