Tear down this wall?

This is what it looks like.  A beige/white cloth wrapped around Cruz Bay Park which will be there from now until who-knows-when, although the government says renovation work will be done in June.  The wrapping also covers the sidewalk on the street side of the park, prompting some people to wonder just how much chaos there can be when the ferries arrive Saturday with tourists and bags and taxis and greeters – and nowhere to walk.  The government says police will be on hand to direct traffic and people.

There are a lot of people who think beginning work on the park now, in the middle of winter tourist season, is nuts.  After all, the project to add landscaping, park benches and underground electrical for lighting has been talked about for years.  Now, as businesses are recovering from two very soft years, the center of Cruz Bay is off limits.

(Photos courtesy of NoSeeUm's blog.)

The St. John Source reported that merchants have mixed feelings.  The owner of Coral Bay Jewelers is quoted saying, "It's rude.  There is no reason for it to happen now." The owner of JJ's Texas Coast Cafe says, "We're going to suffer." (Since her outdoor restaurant/bar borders the park and is now almost invisible, ya think she's right?)  While the manager of the trinket-seller Captain's Corner says, "Short term pain for long term pain." (Wonder what the owner thinks.)

Anyway, the wall is there.  What do you think?  It's been years in coming, and now the work is underway.  Given that, "It's the islands, Mon," let it continue? Or should the Governor tells Public Works to delay until summer.  Leave your comment here.  We'll send them to Government House.

In the meantime, this weekend, try this.  Log on to StJohnSpicecam.com at about 20 past any hour, from Noon on, and watch the ferry dock.  Betcha it's one mob scene after another, as people get backed up because there's nowhere for them to wait for friends, greeters, taxis, etc.

23 thoughts on “Tear down this wall?”

  1. Closing the Cruz Bay Park at the height of tourist season is the height of absurdity. St. John is a major tourist attraction and the fence is decidedly tourist unfriendly. It is a visual assault on newcomers to the island as they disembark at the ferry dock. It is a damned inconvenience to St. Johnians. Please close down the project and restart it in the summer!!

  2. Why not start the project after carnival in the summertime, less tourist coming in and it wouldn’t hurt the business owners nearly as much. The timing is liken to working on an interstate highway during rush hour traffic….

  3. Seems to me that it is too late to turn back now considering where they are currently at in their process(from the photos and reports), and that it should have been stopped before it started. Do you think that they would actually stop work and tear down the fencing (etc.) and restart during low season?
    It might be more productive to get them to finish quickly – and considering ‘island time’ – good luck. Hopefullt they will be finished before our yearly visit in mid-June

  4. As usual, absurdity is the rule when it comes to the government of the VI. It’s almost comical as you couldn’t pick a more “busy time on STJ to begin the project. The least they could do is do some colorful banners and signs directing people to the affected businesses on that horrid brown cloth. File this one under “D” for “Duh.”

  5. Definitely hold off until summer after carnival. Doing it now is the ultimate in poor planning/stupidity, take your pick.

  6. They have to do it now otherwise they violate the Island stupid principle. The VI needs every tourist dollar they can get so ruin it for the tourists.
    Wait, wait, I think I understand their logic. Ruin it for them now so they will have to come back on another trip so they can have a memorable vacation! “Don’t stop the Carnival” may be fifty but it still rules.

  7. I too think that waiting until after Carnival would have been a good idea. I also think that it should have been in stages to avoid a lot of interruption Not having a sidewalk for pedestrians in this very congested area is dangerous and foolish. They easily could have left the sidewalk open and worked on the rest of the park. Once the park was completed, they could have closed the sidewalk and re-done that. The most convenient for the workers, no, but is certainly would have been safer for the many many pedestrians that walk through this area every day. The screen also adds an extra danger because drivers who are coming down the road by Connections can not see around the fence to look for traffic coming from the taxi area. And although cars should be driving very slowly in this area, they often times are not.
    I suppose one of the most irritating things is that since they closed off the park last week there has been absolutely no work done. The park sits empty, void of workers and equipment. I feel that they should be working nearly around the clock to complete the project because of the danger it poses to every person who walks off the ferry dock. And as far as police directing??? I haven’t seen one yet, but then again, I don’t sit and watch the area all day long.

  8. Please rethink this park renovation.This is not a good start for newcomers to first see the island.I am also disappointed that you would think it ok to put
    shela out of business..

  9. DITTO !!!! Very well said. Dumb to do it now. Embarrassing as a local to welcome people to this now.
    At least close the street by the Church so pedestrians have a place to walk. In slow season cars can go around PO to taxi area no hassle. Or move beach taxi area to Battery location.
    Stop the refurbs now!! ASAP

  10. everyone seems to agree that the timing of this project was poorly conceived. lot’s of anger, finger pointing and hand wringing. but what do we do about it. sending these comments along to the governor is useless. i suggest that the folks who live, work, own businesses and are full time residents are those who will suffer the most. we who visit will be inconvenienced minimally. someone or a group of someones must take a strong leadership role and organize the community. how about picketing the site, picketing the government offices, involve local t.v. and radio. in short make some noise, make a fuss. if they can bring down mubarak in 16 days, we can’t figure out how to bring down a fence?

  11. So, the fence has been up for a week+ now but no work has been started inside !!!!
    Please rethink the timing and the actual need for renovations – $360,000 for what? new benches, pathway and landscaping (that is all I have been able to find out what is about to happen) I hope they at least leave the trees alone.
    Really this should have started during the months of August, September and October – the slowest time of the year or better yet the park should remain open and work completed section at a time.
    If you are going to keep it closed please provide trash cans in Cruz Bay as now we have none anywhere and find a place for people (especially the elderly) to sit and wait for the bus – closed park = no benches !!!!!

  12. A prime business of the Virgin Islands, St. John specifically, is to offer positive tourist experiences during the highly traveled months and to present those visitors with highest regard and respect for the caribbean community in which they vacation… with this terrible eye sore in the city center, impositioned fencing which disallows free movement for all involved, and imposing white (soon to be terribly DIRTY) barrier smacking each traveler and resident in the face as they first see St. John, the powers that be who chose to begin the project at high season have effectively ruining the reasons people want to come to St. John…… Bad choice of timing (TERRIBLE in fact), imposing and horrific “dressing” of the fence, and thoughtless disrespect for businesses of the Cruz Bay area…. Begin ONLY when tourist season is lowest, and when the project is fully planned and ready and waiting to be started AND finished quickly…. Please tear down this wall or at leasat the soon to be dirty white wrapping and return to the drawing table. I emplore you to begin when it makes sense for everyone. Public demand MUST count for something, and the public needs a revist at this time – NOT to the center of Cruz Bay, but to the planning of this misbegotten HIGH SEASON project.

  13. Yes, it should have been worked on during the slowest months of August, September, October and November. But, now that they have started they should really WORK and get it done by June. ‘Island time’ is an excuse some use in order to be slow. There are some that want to pull the bandaid off slowly and others that move quickly to get the pain over with. I hope they move quickly and get the place looking nice as soon as possible. Hopefully, they’ve hired some motivated workers.

  14. well, someone mentioned egypt…..sounds like a large group with some tools could make the thing disappear overnite!! really, starting this project, then not being in full swing immediately, shows a huge lack of foresight….incompetence reigns as usual.

  15. i am the one who mentioned egypt. however, i am not suggesting illegally tearing down the fence. what i want to know is where are the community leaders, the business leaders, the local full time residents with influence. why haven’t they stepped up and made an effort to organize and attempt to influence those in power. all i see here is hand wringing; oh me oh my, stupid officials, dumb decisions, island time… it’s past time. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

  16. As a yearly (sometimes more) visitor and hopes to someday be fortunate enough to be a local, I hate to see the local businesses suffer at this time of the year after the past two years that have been a struggle. Why must this be done in prime season, poor poor planning especially since this has been in the works for such a long time, what’s a few more months? I also agree with a previous comment that it’s also dangerous as that area is so congested, I fear for locals and tourists safety. I myself could care less about the unsightly material fence around the park as the reason I come back year after year is the wonderful spirit of the people on this island, it’s such a special place. Their’s a lot of beautiful places allover the world, but it’s the local people that make this island have it’s special heartbeat all it’s own. To someone visiting STJ for the first time though, they may feel differently. Their first impression of the island will be mass chaos and congestion getting off the ferry, I’d imagine they’ll be wondering about the serenity that so many have spoke about. It’s definitely not going to be that getting off that ferry this season. If possible, postpone this project out of respect of the hardworking people who this project happening at such a bad time will suffer the most.

  17. To begin this project now reflects the ignorance and lack of planning that runs rampant in VI government. I’d love to hear a single valid reason why this project needs to be undertaken during peak season. The barrier has been put up but no work is going on. Big surprise!!

  18. The repeat St John visitor needs little encouragement to look for an alternative… the more that is done to make life difficult or uncomfortable on the island… the easier the decision to go elsewhere becomes.

  19. am i nuts? everyone knows what’s wrong. this is not rocket science. BUT, who is standing up to do something about it? if all you can do is state the obvious and do nothing to attempt to rectify this nonsense, then i say you abdicate the right to complain. as we use to say when i was a kid, either stand up or shut up!!!

Leave a Comment