Long-discussed plans to improve the appearance of the park in Cruz Bay have begun. The center of town will be closed for five months.
Some people say that breaking ground for the $336,000 project in the middle of the winter tourist season is the definition of 'bad timing.'
Certainly JJ's Texas Coast Cafe and the former-Sparky's liquor/gift shop, on the edge of the park, would have preferred the work done during the summer when 'walling off' their businesses would be less damaging to business.
Abnd chain link fencing around the square is hardly an attractive sight, the first thing ferry passengers see as they set foot on the island.
Gov. John de Jongh praised the project's start in a statement, saying work is due for completion by the end of June. "During that time, the park will be closed to the public" he said, but provisions will be made to avoid disrupting the public’s access to nearby businesses."
Crews will do landscaping, place new benches and install an underground electricity system for new lighting. “Franklin Powell Park is the first attraction most people experience when they enter Cruz Bay," de Jongh said. "The park stands at the entrance to the beautiful town, and should be a gem for this community and its visitors."
“This work will be undertaken in a manner that minimizes disruptions for the businesses that surround the park and the neighboring community," he added. "We have discussed these objectives with the contractor, and are confident they understand and will be responsive. We apologize for the imposition that will be caused by this beautification project that is long over-due and sorely needed to recapture the park’s charm and its importance as a central focal point,” Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said.