New Pavilion, Picnic Area and Restroom Facility Coming to Maho Bay

Contractors began demolition of the Maho Bay beach pavilion, below, after staging equipment at the site, above. The project is expected to last 120 days and will bring an upgraded facility and a restroom to the beach.

One of the island’s most popular beaches is getting an upgrade.

V.I. National Park contractor Otak Inc. staged equipment and work got underway last week on an expected 120-day project at Maho Bay beach.

Working with local subcontractors, the Florida-based Otak will oversee renovation and construction work on a pavilion picnic area near the old pavilion at Maho, explained VINP Deputy Superintendent Mike Anderson.

“The time frame will be about 120 days and the work will consist of removing part of the existing structure and enhancing the area with a pavilion-picnic facility,” said Anderson. “There will be a vault toilet like at Annaberg and we think we will be adding two to three more parking slots on that end of the road.”

The Maho project is costing the park $492,659, all of which is coming from the VINP fee program, explained VINP Facilities Manager Keith Macneir.

“These are our fee projects which come from collecting fees at Trunk Bay and the mooring fields,” said Macneir. “We are able to do these projects as a direct result of those fees. Eighty percent of every dollar collected at Trunk Bay and the moorings stays in the park and allows us to do projects like this.”

“These are not just government dollars that disappear,” said Macneir.

Otek is also overseeing stabilization work at the Catherineberg and Cinnamon Bay ruins and the Cinnamon Bay factory, as well as constructing new lifeguard stands at Trunk Bay, all of which is being paid for by the fee program, according to Macneir.

On the other end of Maho Bay beach, VINP officials are overseeing the removal of a trailer, which is not part of the Maho pavilion project, explained  Macneir.

“The trailer is a separate project, not connected to the pavilion work,” he said. “We are going to be making some improvements to that area so people will have a safe place to park. The lot belongs to the Trust for Public Land, but we have leased it and we’re going to be putting in some non-permanent improvements.”

VINP officials will level the lot and lay down a layer of gravel in the area, Macneir added.

Once the lot is complete, officials will stop allowing parking on the beach side of North Shore Road at Maho Bay, according to Anderson.

“Parking on the pavement has always been prohibited everywhere in the park,” said Anderson. “We’re working to get the parking lot done so people will not have to park on the road shoulder at Maho. We won’t allow parking on the beach side of the road once we get the corner parking lot open.”

“That is not just for safety reasons, but a vehicle may leak fluids and it certainly erodes the beach,” Anderson said. “We have to put a stop to that.”

VINP officials will install “traffic delineators” to clearly show beach-goers where parking is off limits, Macneir explained.

“We’re going to put in traffic delineators along the edge of the road on the beach side,” said the VINP facilities manager. “They are about an inch and a half to two inches in diameter and attach to the road surface. They definitely give the message that you can’t park here.”

Parking on the beach side of North Shore Road, however, will be allowed until VINP officials complete the corner lot, Anderson added.

“We will be closing some of the parking down where the construction is taking place, which will be necessary for safety reasons,” said Anderson. “Due to that, until we get the parking lot complete, we won’t be closing the road shoulder to parking on either side of the road.”

VINP continues its challenge to the community for zero traffic accidents in 2011, and except for a DUI arrest last week, the program is still on pace, explained Anderson.

“There have not been any accidents on North Shore Road yet this year,” he said. “There was one DUI arrest where the person hit a boulder, but there was no injury and it was a one-car incident. That is the only incident we’ve had to my knowledge.”

The final phases of North Shore Road rehabilitation are wrapping up as well, Macneir added.

“The North Shore Road project has been punch listed and is all complete except for a few minor items,” he said. “We had some money left over so decided to do some more safety items to better serve the visitor. One of these is the shoulder work we’re currently finishing.”

“We have limited money left, but we’re doing all that we can,” said Macneir.