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Opening Celebration of New Ferry Terminal Carries on Through Rain

Sept. 25, 2007 — The rain cascaded down Tuesday, but it didn't dampen the speeches, prayers and musical performances that heralded the opening of the new Red Hook Ferry Terminal.
The V.I. Port Authority (VIPA) officially opened the Urman Victor Fredericks Marine Terminal, as it is now known, capping a two-year, $10 million construction project.
The 9,500-square-foot terminal is named after a St. Thomian credited with pioneering the barge industry out of Red Hook. It takes the place of parking-lot sheds where passengers lined up in the sun — and sometimes rain — to purchase tickets and await ferries to St. John and the British Virgin Islands.
“This represents more than just what we did in terms of construction,” Gov. John deJongh Jr. told those gathered in the new terminal. “It represents where I think the Virgin Islands is going overall.”
Collaborative efforts such as this between VIPA, the Legislature and federal agencies “shows what can happen when a community works together,” the governor said.
The crowd included some dozen members of Urman Fredericks’ family. DeJongh recalled how he used to “rush to Red Hook to stand in a line that reached out to the road.
"Now passengers can purchase tickets and await ferries in comfort," he said.
The spacious terminal features large, sand-colored tiles and a wood-beamed ceiling. It hosted the Charlotte Amalie High School Concert Band as it played the national anthem and the V.I. March, as well as the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps out of Eudora Kean High School, which posted and retired flags to begin and end Tuesday’s ceremony.
Punctuating the speeches by various dignitaries were the performances of Ajani Corniero of All Saints School, who played a jazz solo on the steel pan, and longtime VIPA employee Rivo E. Hodge — who reportedly has overseen aspects of the ferry area for years — singing a dewy rendition of “The Way We Were.”
The new terminal features a long bar flanking the northwest wall and five concessions opposite, four of them residing in specially designed nooks. Three of the four concession nooks will house food vendors that used to sell from wooden sheds in the parking lot, according to Marc Stridiron, public information officer for VIPA. The fourth nook, House of Dolls, sells handmade V.I. dolls and artifacts.
The east end of the terminal features seating and spaces for ticket vendors sufficient to accommodate the six ferry services that operate out of Red Hook. Only two, Native Son and Transportation Services, have applied for and received occupancy rights to date, Stridiron said.
One thing missing at Tuesday’s opening was electronic turnstiles. Once installed in approximately two months, they will force passengers to pay a 50-cent surcharge on each trip, according to Stridiron. The fee has been on the books since 1996, he said, but there has been no way to levy it at Red Hook. It’s intended to offset costs of maintaining the new structure, which requires security guards, maintenance personnel, a facility manager and dockmasters, Stridiron said.
In addition to the new surcharge, patrons will see parking costs double to $2 per hour and a maximum $10 per day. That has Senator-at-Large Carmen Wesselhoft incensed. She could not be reached for comment, but she blasted VIPA in a statement released Tuesday.
Round-trip ferry riders who park in the lot all day will pay $21 per day, not including a $2 fee per bag if they happen to bring a package or luggage on board, Wesselhoft said. She claims VIPA is balancing its books “on the backs of St. John and its commuters."
Her statement continued, “I think it’s high time someone explain to the Virgin Islands Port Authority that an increase in fees in an organization’s budget is to compliment efficiency in service, improved product, and compliment new capital projects that are well planned, not to simply compensate for poor management."
VIPA Executive Director Darlan Brin countered that the increased parking fee does cover capital projects — namely the new terminal.
“We have a bond issue to repay,” Brin said. “The only way we can recover is from fees and rates and charges. The Port Authority spent over $6 million of its money to build that facility. Who’s supposed to pay for it?”
If the new fees are a burden to commuters, the mood was nevertheless celebratory Tuesday as speakers paid homage to everyone from the architect to the engineers to the VIPA staff and federal agencies for making the facility possible. In addition, the Fredericks family patriarch and the terminal’s namesake was honored for literally turning the earth in 1966 at the site of the terminal, clearing the way for the first-ever barge service out of Red Hook. Urman Fredericks died in 1974.
“He would be joyful,” said his son, Lyn Fredericks. It was Lyn Fredericks who brought the idea of putting his father’s name on the facility to Sen. Liston Davis, who successfully sponsored a bill to that effect.
Davis, who addressed the crowd, called on the governor to support his efforts to fund the establishment of a customs-clearing facility at the new terminal, so passengers visiting the British Virgin Islands can return directly to St. Thomas rather than stopping at customs on St. John.
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Sept. 25, 2007 -- The rain cascaded down Tuesday, but it didn't dampen the speeches, prayers and musical performances that heralded the opening of the new Red Hook Ferry Terminal.
The V.I. Port Authority (VIPA) officially opened the Urman Victor Fredericks Marine Terminal, as it is now known, capping a two-year, $10 million construction project.
The 9,500-square-foot terminal is named after a St. Thomian credited with pioneering the barge industry out of Red Hook. It takes the place of parking-lot sheds where passengers lined up in the sun -- and sometimes rain -- to purchase tickets and await ferries to St. John and the British Virgin Islands.
“This represents more than just what we did in terms of construction,” Gov. John deJongh Jr. told those gathered in the new terminal. “It represents where I think the Virgin Islands is going overall.”
Collaborative efforts such as this between VIPA, the Legislature and federal agencies “shows what can happen when a community works together,” the governor said.
The crowd included some dozen members of Urman Fredericks’ family. DeJongh recalled how he used to “rush to Red Hook to stand in a line that reached out to the road.
"Now passengers can purchase tickets and await ferries in comfort," he said.
The spacious terminal features large, sand-colored tiles and a wood-beamed ceiling. It hosted the Charlotte Amalie High School Concert Band as it played the national anthem and the V.I. March, as well as the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps out of Eudora Kean High School, which posted and retired flags to begin and end Tuesday’s ceremony.
Punctuating the speeches by various dignitaries were the performances of Ajani Corniero of All Saints School, who played a jazz solo on the steel pan, and longtime VIPA employee Rivo E. Hodge -- who reportedly has overseen aspects of the ferry area for years -- singing a dewy rendition of “The Way We Were.”
The new terminal features a long bar flanking the northwest wall and five concessions opposite, four of them residing in specially designed nooks. Three of the four concession nooks will house food vendors that used to sell from wooden sheds in the parking lot, according to Marc Stridiron, public information officer for VIPA. The fourth nook, House of Dolls, sells handmade V.I. dolls and artifacts.
The east end of the terminal features seating and spaces for ticket vendors sufficient to accommodate the six ferry services that operate out of Red Hook. Only two, Native Son and Transportation Services, have applied for and received occupancy rights to date, Stridiron said.
One thing missing at Tuesday’s opening was electronic turnstiles. Once installed in approximately two months, they will force passengers to pay a 50-cent surcharge on each trip, according to Stridiron. The fee has been on the books since 1996, he said, but there has been no way to levy it at Red Hook. It’s intended to offset costs of maintaining the new structure, which requires security guards, maintenance personnel, a facility manager and dockmasters, Stridiron said.
In addition to the new surcharge, patrons will see parking costs double to $2 per hour and a maximum $10 per day. That has Senator-at-Large Carmen Wesselhoft incensed. She could not be reached for comment, but she blasted VIPA in a statement released Tuesday.
Round-trip ferry riders who park in the lot all day will pay $21 per day, not including a $2 fee per bag if they happen to bring a package or luggage on board, Wesselhoft said. She claims VIPA is balancing its books “on the backs of St. John and its commuters."
Her statement continued, “I think it’s high time someone explain to the Virgin Islands Port Authority that an increase in fees in an organization’s budget is to compliment efficiency in service, improved product, and compliment new capital projects that are well planned, not to simply compensate for poor management."
VIPA Executive Director Darlan Brin countered that the increased parking fee does cover capital projects -- namely the new terminal.
“We have a bond issue to repay,” Brin said. “The only way we can recover is from fees and rates and charges. The Port Authority spent over $6 million of its money to build that facility. Who’s supposed to pay for it?”
If the new fees are a burden to commuters, the mood was nevertheless celebratory Tuesday as speakers paid homage to everyone from the architect to the engineers to the VIPA staff and federal agencies for making the facility possible. In addition, the Fredericks family patriarch and the terminal’s namesake was honored for literally turning the earth in 1966 at the site of the terminal, clearing the way for the first-ever barge service out of Red Hook. Urman Fredericks died in 1974.
“He would be joyful,” said his son, Lyn Fredericks. It was Lyn Fredericks who brought the idea of putting his father’s name on the facility to Sen. Liston Davis, who successfully sponsored a bill to that effect.
Davis, who addressed the crowd, called on the governor to support his efforts to fund the establishment of a customs-clearing facility at the new terminal, so passengers visiting the British Virgin Islands can return directly to St. Thomas rather than stopping at customs on St. John.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.