While St. John residents applauded the V.I. Port Authority Governing Board’s decision last week to create much-needed parking spaces at the Enighed Pond Marine Facility (see related story on this page), the plan might not be as good as it looks.
No doubt gaining 150 parking spaces in the Cruz Bay area would be a major relief to the decades-long parking problems plaguing the town. The new parking lot might just off-set the loss of another parking lot.
The architect firm deJongh and Associates, which created the Enighed parking lot plan, is also working on a project for VIPA that would close the U.S. Customs parking lot, according to Senator at Large Craig Barshinger.
“The V.I. Port Authority needs the new parking lot because they intend to close the parking lot across from the post office,” said Barshinger. “The deJongh group is designing a new waterfront in Cruz Bay, but they’ve been pretty tight-lipped about it. But they have some nice ideas.”
While the public has not had the opportunity to hear, see or comment on deJongh and Associates’ plans to transform the Cruz Bay waterfront, Barshinger heard details of the plan during a recent meeting with VIPA officials, deJongh officials, U.S. Coast Guard personnel and V.I. National Park Superintendent Mark Hardgrove.
DeJongh and Associates’ plans for Cruz Bay include constructing a boardwalk from the Loredon Boynes dock, around the Cruz Bay Battery to where the U.S. Customs parking lot is currently located, according to Barshinger.
“The intention is to move Customs over to where the children’s play area is near the VINP visitors’ center,” said the senator at large. “Where the present Customs dock is would then be used as an amphitheater. The parking lot might be there when the project is completed, but it would have to be closed for some time.”
During the meeting, Barshin-ger urged officials to take their plans to the public, he explained.
“It’s definitely time to bring the plans to the public,” said Barshinger. “I encouraged them to have a public dialogue and get some feedback on the plans.”
DeJongh and Associates did not return phone calls from St. John Tradewinds.