Despite Top Brass Weilding Shiny Shovels, No VIPD Permanent Station for Coral Bay

The Coral Bay community’s temporary police station is inactive and no progress has been made on the construction of a substation at the site above. St. John Tradewinds News Photo by Eliza Magro

More than a year after the territory’s top brass donned hard hats to ceremoniously break the ground with golden shovels at the site of the future V.I. Police Department’s permanent Coral Bay Substation — officials have not made any progress on the project.

Dignitaries, including then-Governor Charles Turnbull, then-VIPD Commissioner Elton Lewis and VIPD Territorial Chief Novelle Francis, gathered on a patch of grass between Skinny Legs and the Coral Bay Fire Station on October 25, 2006, to mark the spot of the future police outpost.

At that time residents in the area lauded the government’s effort to step up its presence in the growing neighborhoods from Bordeaux to the East End.

“We are very glad this project is going forward,” Coral Bay Community Council president Sharon Coldren said last October.

“Today for me is a great day,” said John’s Folly Learning Institute executive director Alvis Christian at the time. “This shows the governor and the VIPD commissioner saw it fit to carry on the work the forefathers started.”

Few thought, however, that those initial shovels of dirt would be the only activity at the site more than 12 months later.

“A year later we haven’t heard anything about the status of this project,” said Coldren. “We hope that the St. John police chief would have some meeting with the community to let us know what is going on.”

Temporary Office Closed
Although VIPD officials have been using an office space in the Coccoloba shopping complex as a temporary substation since late 2005, the office has not been staffed regularly and the phone number — 774-1111— was out of order as of press time.

Government officials seemed to be making progress on the permanent station project last year when the Legislature appropriated $500,000 to cover construction and chose Bryan Chick Construction Services as the contractor.

At the October 2006 ground breaking ceremony, Bryan Chick displayed plans for a one story, 20-feet by 40-feet building, which officials hoped to have complete by June 2007.

Instead, those plans are collecting dust as VIPD officials have yet to complete an application for  the required major Coastal Zone Management permit for the structure.

Since that application process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months  the VIPD permanent Coral Bay substation will not be a reality any time soon.