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HomeNewsArchivesC’STED PARKING LOT IMPROVEMENTS UNDERWAY

C’STED PARKING LOT IMPROVEMENTS UNDERWAY

For the first time in a long time, a Christiansted parking lot project isn’t stirring up controversy.
The V.I. government-owned lot on Strand Street, long marred by giant potholes and poor if not nonexistent lighting, is closed while the Department of Public Works gives it a makeover. The project, said Public Works’ Randy Germain, includes patching potholes, improving drainage, mending fences, and improving lighting. It will "hopefully" take no longer than two weeks.
"What we’re trying to do is make it better for the public," Germain said. "We are financially handicapped and we’re trying to get all hands on deck. My crews are working with nothing to do something."
Parking in downtown Christiansted has been scarce since the National Park Service removed the 70-space King’s Wharf lot two years ago to put in a grassy park. To make up for the lack of spaces, the government made the underused Strand Street lot free. But the condition of – and lack of security at – the 100-space government lot has long been a bone of contention between downtown business owners and the government.
Peter Ross, president of the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association, said an ad hoc group of hotel and tourism association members and the St. Croix Retail and Restaurant Association have been discussing lot improvements with Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II for several months. He said the just-started parking lot renovation is a step in the right direction in addressing some ills confronting downtown.
"Anything is a positive step," Ross said. "We’re looking to see if the parking lot can be managed privately and we’re trying to install security cameras.
"Ultimately we’d like to see a multi-level parking structure there."
In the meantime, having a private firm manage the lot, for a fee, is the goal of business owners. A well-lit, manned lot would provide security that now keeps many island residents from venturing downtown after dark, Ross said.
"It wouldn’t just be for tourists, but also local people who don’t come into town anymore," he said. "The government can make more money then they are making now. People wouldn’t mind paying if it were well maintained and secure."
Public Works’ Germain said the meter gate at the lot will be fixed during the renovation, but the issue of reinstating a parking fee has not been addressed.
"It’s still up in the air," he said. "That’s not been decided yet."
While work on the government lot continues, Germain said the public can park in the lot adjacent to the old seaplane shuttle ramp.

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For the first time in a long time, a Christiansted parking lot project isn’t stirring up controversy.
The V.I. government-owned lot on Strand Street, long marred by giant potholes and poor if not nonexistent lighting, is closed while the Department of Public Works gives it a makeover. The project, said Public Works’ Randy Germain, includes patching potholes, improving drainage, mending fences, and improving lighting. It will "hopefully" take no longer than two weeks.
"What we’re trying to do is make it better for the public," Germain said. "We are financially handicapped and we’re trying to get all hands on deck. My crews are working with nothing to do something."
Parking in downtown Christiansted has been scarce since the National Park Service removed the 70-space King’s Wharf lot two years ago to put in a grassy park. To make up for the lack of spaces, the government made the underused Strand Street lot free. But the condition of – and lack of security at – the 100-space government lot has long been a bone of contention between downtown business owners and the government.
Peter Ross, president of the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association, said an ad hoc group of hotel and tourism association members and the St. Croix Retail and Restaurant Association have been discussing lot improvements with Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II for several months. He said the just-started parking lot renovation is a step in the right direction in addressing some ills confronting downtown.
"Anything is a positive step," Ross said. "We’re looking to see if the parking lot can be managed privately and we’re trying to install security cameras.
"Ultimately we’d like to see a multi-level parking structure there."
In the meantime, having a private firm manage the lot, for a fee, is the goal of business owners. A well-lit, manned lot would provide security that now keeps many island residents from venturing downtown after dark, Ross said.
"It wouldn’t just be for tourists, but also local people who don’t come into town anymore," he said. "The government can make more money then they are making now. People wouldn’t mind paying if it were well maintained and secure."
Public Works’ Germain said the meter gate at the lot will be fixed during the renovation, but the issue of reinstating a parking fee has not been addressed.
"It’s still up in the air," he said. "That’s not been decided yet."
While work on the government lot continues, Germain said the public can park in the lot adjacent to the old seaplane shuttle ramp.