CORAL BAY — Following a swift donation campaign, planned renovations to the dilapidated Coral Bay basketball court, organized by Rotary Club of St. John and Coral Bay Community Council, were derailed for months by government administration changes.
Now, however, officials are ready to move forward with resurfacing the area, installing new fencing and bleachers and new basketball standards.
Governor Kenneth Mapp’s election in the fall brought different commissioners heading up the Department of Public Works and Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation, which delayed the planned renovations, explained CBCC President and Rotarian Sharon Coldren.
“We raised about $50,000 in Spring 2014 and we knew that the biggest expense would be the asphalt resurfacing,” said Coldren. “There are a limited number of companies in the territory capable of doing this and we had numerous discussions over the summer and into the fall.”
“The administration change which came about after the election delays the project,” she said. “We needed some assistance from the government, but with the administration changes, those things take time.”
“Now we are ready to move forward,” said Coldren. “We need to get this done for the youth of Coral Bay to have this court to play on again. We need to step up and make this happen.”
With no immediate threat to the area by planned development, and a written agreement that the basketball court will remain in place even if a construction project begins, renovations should be starting soon, Coldren explained.
“There is no immediate threat to the basketball court,” she said. “The Moravian Church and the developers have a written contractual agreement with the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation to run this court for a few years at least until, in the course of development, a new court is built somewhere else.”
Rotary and CBCC officials are committed to this project and plan to get moving quickly, Coldren added.
“It is important to get this project up and running,” she said. “No more delays. I’m committed and Rotary is committed and people have donated to this and given money.”
“So now what we need to do is get some professional volunteers to make this happen,” Coldren said.
A local company with Economic Development Authority tax breaks must donate asphalt which officials are hoping they can secure for the Coral Bay basketball court renovations.
“Rotary President Alicia Wells has sent a letter to he new Commissioner of Public Works Gustaf James asking him to release some asphalt that is EDA donated and we’re waiting for his response,” said Coldren.
The basketball standards, the posts, backboard and hoops and nets, have been shipped, delivered thanks to Larry Clarke of Coral Bay Trucking and stored, thanks Rupert Marsh. The equipment can not be installed, however, until after the asphalt is resurfaced and the cyclone fencing and concrete repair work is complete, explained Coldren.
“We are ready to rebuild the bleacher seats which is going to take some professional assistance,” she said. “We’re hoping that some of our local construction companies can step up to doing this and donate some of their time over the next couple of months. We could begin today if we had the professionals.”
“We could pay for the supplies and some of the labor that is necessary for the project,” Coldren said. “The same thing applies to the repairing and installing the cyclone fence around the court. That can be done right now, but we need professional assistance.”
The project is not a huge one — and once started should only take a few weeks — but is technical enough that construction professionals are needed. Coldren hopes that volunteers will step forward during this slow time of year.
“We’re asking people to put it on their agenda to donate their time during the next few months to help us complete the project,” said the CBCC President.
Anyone willing to help should contact Coldren at (340) 513-4298.