Times — and roadside attractions — in Coral Bay are a-changing.
The funky collection of signs arranged at the Coral Bay triangle are gone, but a collaborative effort between area business owners and the property owner is netting exciting results.
The land at the intersection of Route 10, Centerline Road, and Route 107, South Shore Road, often referred to as the “triangle,” is owned by the Moravian Church’s Eastern West Indies Province, which is based in Antigua.
For years business owners in the Coral Bay area have erected signs on the land without permission or maintenance.
The Moravian Church leased the land last year to a Florida-based development company called T-Rex, which has plans to construct a marina, shopping complex and condominiums, although no applications for permits for construction are currently under consideration.
After agreeing to the long-term lease, the church’s property manager for the Virgin Islands took a look at the land and determined that the Coral Bay corner was a liability.
“The corner was inundated with signs and more people were asking for signs to be put up there,” said Moravian Church V.I. Conference property manager Samuel Rymer. “After ascertaining what was there, it was determined to be a liability and all the signs were taken down.”
Instead of having the church dictate what to put at the prominent corner, Rymer took the opportunity to join forces with the community, he explained.
“Instead of the conference saying what will go up there, we wanted to come to the businesses to work together to come up with a design everyone is happy with,” Rymer said. “It will be a win-win situation for the Coral Bay business community and the conference.”
Rymer designed a rough draft as a starting point for the sign which featured a bench — similar to the iconic Skinny Legs one which sat the corner for years — and directional signs to the fire station and East End and Salt Pond, the gas station and grocery stores.
From there, a team composed of area business owners including architect Ken Yolman of Coral Bay Design Build and Cheryl Geller of the Tourist Trap, created a welcome sign design which incorporated the church’s main concerns and maintained a Coral Bay edge.
The design currently calls for a 13-foot central welcome sign with directional information, a bench and overhanging shade, with branches extending east and south. Each branch has space for 16 two-foot-by-two-foot signs.
Every business which previously had a sign at the Coral Bay triangle will be given space on the new sign structure and additional businesses will be accepted on a first come, first served basis, explained Rymer.
The new structure will be maintained by the community and the design includes space for solar powered lights in the future. A small maintenance fee will be assessed to business owners who use space on the structure.
All eight Coral Bay business owners and Rymer approved the general design at a Tuesday morning, June 2, meeting at the Emmaus Moravian Church. Rymer was scheduled to share the design with St. John Administrator Leona Smith and Deputy Director of the Department of Public Works Ira Wade last week.
The group is still tweaking the final design for the Coral Bay sign structure and plan to meet with Rymer again on Tuesday morning, June 16, at 11 a.m. at the church. A materials list and cost analysis should be compiled by then and the group expected to move forward with the project quickly.
“I want to get this thing up as quickly as possible,” Rymer said. “Once we have the design complete and the materials and funds together, we’ll get together and get it up. It will be like an old fashioned barn raising.”