78.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesEAST END CEMETERY PLANS DETAILED BY SENATOR

EAST END CEMETERY PLANS DETAILED BY SENATOR

Sen. Allie-Allison Petrus unveiled plans Thursday for a proposed East End cemetery on privately owned land above Smith Bay that can be acquired in exchange for government property at the edge of downtown Charlotte Amalie.
The site, owned by St. Thomas businessman Gordon L. Coffelt, consists of 10 acres atop a knoll. Two and a half acres would be set aside as a burial ground for veterans, with a projected 1,000 plots. The remainder could accommodate the anticipated need for 1,300 to 1,400 plots over the next 15 to 20 years, Petrus said at a press conference held on the property.
"This is a beautiful site, one of the last remaining properties that can be used for burial purposes" on St. Thomas, he said.
The approach to the site, inland from Smith Bay Road just beyond the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort entrance on the way to Red Hook, is via a dirt lane that rises gently to the top of the knoll. The land, which is already cleared, affords views of Sugar Bay and the British Virgin Islands beyond.
Petrus said he began looking for an East End burial site after he learned from Public Works Department officials last year that the Western Cemetery may run out of space as early as this July. To avert a crisis, he said, he began discussions late last year with Coffelt about the possible exchange of land.
"What I show you today is just a plan," Petrus said. "The Senate must ratify this plan before it can be a reality, and we must work with the attorney general, Public Works and Property and Procurement before we can move forward." He said he doesn't anticipate any roadblocks and is confident of the support of his fellow senators.
However, he emphasized a need to move quickly on the matter. "We've done environmental impact studies and feel confident this will be a reality very soon," he said.
In exchange for the 10 acres, Coffelt would get a 3/4-acre plot abutting the Western Cemetery by the Banco Popular regional headquarters that can be developed for commercial use.
Cleave McBean, assistant director of the Office of Veterans Affairs, said at the press conference that he worked with Petrus to draw up guidelines to insure that veterans would receive a final resting place with dignity and respect. Plans for the veterans' portion include a committal shelter. "This has been long in coming," McBean said. "Our veterans are now assured of a final resting place, one we don't expect to outgrow for more than 20 years."
Plans for the larger portion of the property call for the construction of a chapel with seating and a bungalow large enough to accommodate gatherings following services. He displayed an artist's rendering of the planned layout.
Petrus wants the cemetery to be privatized "so that the government doesn't bear the responsibility of carrying out the work that must be done here." Privatizing, he said, will avoid costly mistakes and insure that the area will be properly maintained.
Edward Phillips, first vice commander of American Legion Post 90, recommended that the property be developed with the community in mind. "I'd like to see accommodations for families to visit on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy the view and have a picnic lunch," he said. Petrus said he would take the suggestion under consideration.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,714FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Sen. Allie-Allison Petrus unveiled plans Thursday for a proposed East End cemetery on privately owned land above Smith Bay that can be acquired in exchange for government property at the edge of downtown Charlotte Amalie.
The site, owned by St. Thomas businessman Gordon L. Coffelt, consists of 10 acres atop a knoll. Two and a half acres would be set aside as a burial ground for veterans, with a projected 1,000 plots. The remainder could accommodate the anticipated need for 1,300 to 1,400 plots over the next 15 to 20 years, Petrus said at a press conference held on the property.
"This is a beautiful site, one of the last remaining properties that can be used for burial purposes" on St. Thomas, he said.
The approach to the site, inland from Smith Bay Road just beyond the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort entrance on the way to Red Hook, is via a dirt lane that rises gently to the top of the knoll. The land, which is already cleared, affords views of Sugar Bay and the British Virgin Islands beyond.
Petrus said he began looking for an East End burial site after he learned from Public Works Department officials last year that the Western Cemetery may run out of space as early as this July. To avert a crisis, he said, he began discussions late last year with Coffelt about the possible exchange of land.
"What I show you today is just a plan," Petrus said. "The Senate must ratify this plan before it can be a reality, and we must work with the attorney general, Public Works and Property and Procurement before we can move forward." He said he doesn't anticipate any roadblocks and is confident of the support of his fellow senators.
However, he emphasized a need to move quickly on the matter. "We've done environmental impact studies and feel confident this will be a reality very soon," he said.
In exchange for the 10 acres, Coffelt would get a 3/4-acre plot abutting the Western Cemetery by the Banco Popular regional headquarters that can be developed for commercial use.
Cleave McBean, assistant director of the Office of Veterans Affairs, said at the press conference that he worked with Petrus to draw up guidelines to insure that veterans would receive a final resting place with dignity and respect. Plans for the veterans' portion include a committal shelter. "This has been long in coming," McBean said. "Our veterans are now assured of a final resting place, one we don't expect to outgrow for more than 20 years."
Plans for the larger portion of the property call for the construction of a chapel with seating and a bungalow large enough to accommodate gatherings following services. He displayed an artist's rendering of the planned layout.
Petrus wants the cemetery to be privatized "so that the government doesn't bear the responsibility of carrying out the work that must be done here." Privatizing, he said, will avoid costly mistakes and insure that the area will be properly maintained.
Edward Phillips, first vice commander of American Legion Post 90, recommended that the property be developed with the community in mind. "I'd like to see accommodations for families to visit on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy the view and have a picnic lunch," he said. Petrus said he would take the suggestion under consideration.