Nov. 17, 2004 – Hassel Island's future or a significant part of it will again be before the V. I. Port Authority as construction of a communication tower monument on the southern tip of the island will be discussed Thursday evening.
Darlan Brin, VIPA executive director, has encouraged residents to attend the meeting at 7 p.m. in the VIPA conference room in the administration building adjacent to the Cyril E. King Airport.
In February 2003 the VIPA board voted to cancel its lease with Atlantic Tele-Network for 2,000 square feet of property at Signal Hill atop Hassel Island where the company planned to erect a communications tower at least 80 feet high.
The project is under scrutiny once again with a new proposal from Atlantic Tele-Network Inc./Choice Communication to construct a monopole masthead monument to provide cell phone and cable television relay.
The current installation would have aesthetic advantages over a standard communications tower, say its proponents. It would serve as a welcoming device to marine traffic and would become a symbolic feature of the island's maritime history, much in the way that the famous Cristo Redentor Monument in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil identifies its harbor. The structure would bear the U.S. and territorial flags with night-time decorative lighting proposed.
The Thursday meeting is a preliminary step to a rezoning process, which would be required to construct the tower monument.
Among many who have an interest in the project is Edward "Harmon" Killebrew, 30-year proponent of preserving Hassel Island's history. Killebrew is anxious to develop the Signal Hill area as a place to educate V.I. students about Hassel Island's history so they can later serve as interpreters of the site for visitors
Killebrew's company, Island Treasures, is hiring students from a Tour Guide Training Course being offered jointly by the Hassel Island Preservation Trust and the University of the Virgin Islands' Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning Center to provide tours on Hassel Island for visitors. (See "Hassel Island Trust Formed to Save its 'Treasures'").
The rezoning does not affect a lease from VIPA, which Killebrew holds on the property.
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