Legal Review of Public-Private Partnership Holding Up Frank Powell Park Renovations

An investigation into the legality of a public/private partnership is holding up the renovations at the Frank Powell Park in Cruz Bay, which were most recently scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007.

The renovations, which are intended to beautify the park, will take about three months to complete once the project gets started.

“It is a public/private partnership and we want to make sure everything is being done correctly,” said St. John Administrator Leona Smith. “We hope to get a start on it soon and we anticipate it taking about three months.”

Department of Public Works St. John Deputy Director Ira Wade is currently awaiting an opinion from the Department of Property and Procurement — the government agency which usually advertises for bids on government projects — on whether the public/private partnership is legal.

“We have to make sure that what we are planning to do falls within the legal limits of the law,” said Wade. “The legal advisor at Property and Procurement advised me that she had to research it fully.”

Smith planned to meet with Governor John deJongh to discuss the project, and hopes to start some of the less disruptive phases of construction soon.

“We could start some of the phases that will not disrupt downtown,” said Smith. “We can start on the back part that would not affect traffic or the people using the park. Summer would have been the best time to start, but we want to make sure all our ‘Is’ are dotted and ‘Ts’ are crossed before we start.”

Businesses Want To Help
The project has twice gone out to bid, but all the bids came in too high, according to Wade. The decision was made for the government to provide materials for the project, while several local businesses have stepped up to the plate to donate their services.

“The government is going to provide materials, do some of the demolition and provide the trucking, and Carlson Construction is going to do all of the contract management,” said Wade. “Different companies will come in and do things like the electrical, plumbing, landscaping and concrete work. It’s a coalition of businesses here who really want to help us.”

Although the project has been in the planning stages for several years, it’s still important that it be completed, explained Wade.

“There are a lot of people who really want to see that place changed,” said Wade. “They want to bring it up and give it a great appearance for people coming off the ferry dock. It’s taken a little longer than we expected, but it’s not forgotten.”