Samuel Rymer, Joan Bermingham, and Rory Calhoun.
Moravian Church officials donated $5,000 to the St. John Rotary fund-raising effort for “temporary basketball court repair” to the Coral Bay court — but the church representative stressed the “temporary” applies to the basketball courts, not the repairs.
Samuel Rymer brought an over-sized check representing the donation for the presentation at the monthly meeting of the organization on April 30, but the representative of the Moravian Church acknowledged that the church’s major landholdings on the shores of Coral Bay — including the basketball court on church property between the Guy H. Benjamin Elementary School and the church-owned Coral Bay field — were in a long-term development agreement.
“The long range plan is there will be new basketball courts,” Rymer explained in brief remarks as he introduced Rory Calhoun, the member in charge of the development group T-Rex which has been in a long-term contract for a number of years for the development for the Moravian property on the shores of Coral Bay.
(T-Rex has since joined with a venture capital company named Sirius Development LLC as controlling partner, according to Calhoun)
“The community should not suffer… ”
“Meanwhile, the community should not suffer,” Rymer told the St. John Rotarians on Wednesday, April 30, at the Island Grill restaurant at Mongoose Junction. “The children of Guy Benjamin School should have a safe place.”
“Our heart is still in the community,” Rymer added. “While we are there we need to one responsible for the property we own.”
“Even though we had already leased the land, they gave us permission,” Rymer said of T-Rex.
Governor John P. deJongh has called several times about the project, according to Rymer. St. John Administrator Leona Smith has been ringing Moravian Church officials on a regular basis as has Housing Parks and Recreation Commissioner St. Clair Williams, Rymer added.
“We are moving forward,” Rymer told the Rotarians. “We are not operational yet, but we plan to be.”
“We want to be very community-oriented,” the Moravian Church official continued. “We want to do things right for the community and ourselves.”
“We’re going to build a new ball field and a new basketball court,” Rymer assured the Rotary Club. The donation is intended to “get the basketball court in shape until we can get a new one built.”
“None of this happens without the Rotary Club,” Rymer added. Rymer did not return a call from Tradewinds for further comment after his Rotary presentation.
Competing Coral Bay Marina Projects?
In a telephone interview Friday, April 25, in which Rymer announced the church’s donation, the church official told St. John Tradewinds the Moravian property encompassing the entire north shore of the bay was a “better site” for a marina than any site on the south shore of Coral Bay where a stateside developer is proposing to construct a marina at an as yet undisclosed location.
Rick Barksdale, a principal of the development group proposing the alternate marina, Summer’s End Group, called Rymer’s remark “an unsubstantiated and unqualified statement” since the Summer’s End group has not publicly identified the site it is proposing for a marina development.
(The Summer’s End group has filed initial plans for its project with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR), which includes identifying alternative sites for a marina development, according to Barksdale. who did not offer to make the his group’s preliminary filing public.
Rymer said his comment that the Moravian property was a better site for a marina was “taken out of context,” according to Summer’s End principal Barksdale.
Marina Is “Component” of T-Rex Resort
A marina is only a “component” of T-Rex’s plans for a full-scale resort development on the Moravian Church property on the shore of Coral Bay, Barksdale stressed in a comment to St. John Tradewinds on Monday, April 28.
“Our marina project is moving forward; we continue to make progress every day,” Barksdale said. “We’re in the process.”
“We are in the slow, laborious stage,” he added. “It just takes time.”