St. John’s Cinnamon Bay campground will be rebuilt in an effort to boost the local economy and restore jobs, according to the new owners of Cinnamon Bay Resorts.
Backed by philanthropist and Bloomberg LP co-founder Thomas F. Secunda, CinnOpCo announced that it has purchased Cinnamon Bay Resorts, operator of Cinnamon Bay, and the concessions at Trunk Bay in the Virgin Islands National Park. Longtime St. John hospitality manager Adrian Davis will direct the company. Secunda, an advocate for the national parks, served as chairman of the board of trustees of the National Parks Conservation Association.
“Over the years I’ve been visiting St. John, I’ve developed a real passion for the island and for its people,” Secunda said. “Our goal at Cinnamon Bay is to create the best camping experience in the national parks system in a way that benefits the local economy and gives back to the territory, its visitors and its residents.”
“Cinnamon Bay has always been a unique part of our tourism infrastructure, and its reopening signals another step in rebuilding our private sector economy,” said U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr.
“The reopening of the iconic Cinnamon Bay is a major step towards restoring the important range of St. John’s tourism offerings,” said Delegate to Congress Stacey E. Plaskett. “I’m excited about the reopening and new innovative management of such an historic area with its beautiful beaches.”
“We look forward to honoring the history of Cinnamon Bay while providing family friendly accommodations on the property again. We are excited to renovate both properties and provide services to visitors and residents once again,” said Davis.
Cinnamon Bay facilities and grounds have sat largely untouched since hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island in 2017; the reopening will help bring back jobs and more visitors to St. John.
The restored campground will feature upgraded facilities and camping options ranging from renovated bare sites for tents to redesigned bungalows. The rebuilding will prioritize sustainability and resilience at both locations.
Underscoring a commitment to St. John and the broader territory, Secunda said profits will be driven back into philanthropic efforts across St. John. Local companies, including B&C Transport, will be used for the work on site. Staff will be employed year-round instead of laid off in slower months.
The clean-up and rebuilding will start immediately with the aim of reopening Cinnamon Bay campgrounds for the 2020-21 season. Trunk Bay will continue to operate as is while food and beverage buildings are repaired, upgraded and rebuilt.
The reopening will help bring needed jobs back to St John. It will also contribute to the local economy by creating opportunities for other vendors and individuals who are needed by Cinnamon Bay guests, including taxis, rental cars, local restaurants, offsite activities and destinations.
Under Secunda’s leadership, the Bloomberg Response Team has been on the ground in the U.S. Virgin Islands since the days immediately after Hurricane Irma struck, spending tens of millions of dollars to assist the territory since 2017.
The team sent technical experts to serve side by side with the government of the U.S.V.I., organizations such as Kenny Chesney’s Love for Love City, and new non-profits like Love City Strong to accelerate response and recovery. Many Bloomberg staff drew on their experience working on the recovery and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012.
The work of Love for Love City and Love City Strong, in partnership with Bloomberg, has grown into an island-wide effort to rebuild homes in a resilient way for St John’s most vulnerable residents. Love City Strong has also led the way in ensuring clean cistern drinking water as well as mold remediation on storm-damaged homes.
Their work has grown into a sustained effort to support sustainable and resilient rebuilding and preparation on St. John and throughout the territory through the Hurricane Recovery Task Force, Sustainable Energy Work, the USVI Public Safety Support Foundation and Love City Strong.
As climate change makes hurricane increasingly powerful and destructive, Secunda’s aim is to help build a more resilient region that is better prepared to respond to future storms and natural disasters. Working with the local government and partners, the Bloomberg team and its partners have been trying new and innovative approaches to disaster recovery and preparedness that are showing success across the territory.
The Bloomberg Response Team and Love City Strong will present results and best practices at the upcoming Clinton Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery meeting on St. Thomas in early June. The meeting will advance recovery and resiliency efforts, support long term sustainability and drive action to prepare for the 2019 hurricane season.