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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesNPS TEARING OUT PARKING FOR A PARK

NPS TEARING OUT PARKING FOR A PARK

The National Park Service will live up to the second word in its name Monday when it begins turning a downtown Christiansted parking lot into a park.
The 12-space lot sits on Park Service property between the Scale House and the wall that surrounds the Post Office, said Joel Tutein, superintendent of the Christiansted National Historic Site.
The asphalt area will give way to a 4,200-square-foot lawn with an information kiosk, benches and palm trees. The project will complete the Park Service’s controversial move of April 1998 that turned a 70-space lot into a grassy park.
"I made a decision to stop and let people get accustomed to what was done," Tutein said. "Now it’s time to proceed."
At the time, the removal of the King’s Wharf lot upset many downtown business owners, who said it took away parking for their customers. But Tutein didn’t yield, saying that the lot was used mostly by business owners and their employees who remained for long periods of time.
"I’ve had very positive feedback from people who had opposed it before," Tutein said, adding, however, that there might be a "knee jerk" reaction to the next phase of the plan.
In 1986, the Park Service developed its general management plan for the entire historic site. At that point, a deal between the Park Service and the territory allowed the V.I. government two years to find alternative parking sites. From 1986 to 1989 two efforts were made. One was the current government lot at the corner of Strand and King's Cross Streets. The other plan was a multi-level parking structure that never materialized.
Including the park projects, the general management plan includes establishing a museum in what is now the Post Office in the West India & Guinea Company Warehouse. The museum will take up the first floor of the post office. The upstairs, which once housed a police station, will become Park Service offices, Tutein said.
The courtyard in the West India & Guinea Company Warehouse was used as a holding pen and auction yard for slaves during Danish rule, Tutein said. Because part of the Park Service’s charter is to tell the history of an area, he said that’s what will be done in the proposed museum.
Tutein said the Park Service will obtain the title for the Post Office building within the month. After that, it will be necessary to solicit federal and private funding to make the building functional as a museum.
Meanwhile, the new park area will also accommodate drop-off areas for taxis on cruise ship days, nor will it hamper the flow of traffic on King Street as it turns right onto Hospital Street, Tutein said. Traffic that now can continue west on Hospital Street will be rerouted permanently left to Company Street.

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The National Park Service will live up to the second word in its name Monday when it begins turning a downtown Christiansted parking lot into a park.
The 12-space lot sits on Park Service property between the Scale House and the wall that surrounds the Post Office, said Joel Tutein, superintendent of the Christiansted National Historic Site.
The asphalt area will give way to a 4,200-square-foot lawn with an information kiosk, benches and palm trees. The project will complete the Park Service’s controversial move of April 1998 that turned a 70-space lot into a grassy park.
"I made a decision to stop and let people get accustomed to what was done," Tutein said. "Now it’s time to proceed."
At the time, the removal of the King’s Wharf lot upset many downtown business owners, who said it took away parking for their customers. But Tutein didn’t yield, saying that the lot was used mostly by business owners and their employees who remained for long periods of time.
"I’ve had very positive feedback from people who had opposed it before," Tutein said, adding, however, that there might be a "knee jerk" reaction to the next phase of the plan.
In 1986, the Park Service developed its general management plan for the entire historic site. At that point, a deal between the Park Service and the territory allowed the V.I. government two years to find alternative parking sites. From 1986 to 1989 two efforts were made. One was the current government lot at the corner of Strand and King's Cross Streets. The other plan was a multi-level parking structure that never materialized.
Including the park projects, the general management plan includes establishing a museum in what is now the Post Office in the West India & Guinea Company Warehouse. The museum will take up the first floor of the post office. The upstairs, which once housed a police station, will become Park Service offices, Tutein said.
The courtyard in the West India & Guinea Company Warehouse was used as a holding pen and auction yard for slaves during Danish rule, Tutein said. Because part of the Park Service’s charter is to tell the history of an area, he said that’s what will be done in the proposed museum.
Tutein said the Park Service will obtain the title for the Post Office building within the month. After that, it will be necessary to solicit federal and private funding to make the building functional as a museum.
Meanwhile, the new park area will also accommodate drop-off areas for taxis on cruise ship days, nor will it hamper the flow of traffic on King Street as it turns right onto Hospital Street, Tutein said. Traffic that now can continue west on Hospital Street will be rerouted permanently left to Company Street.