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HomeNewsArchives'Like Carrying Logs': Resort Developers Celebrate Application Milestone

'Like Carrying Logs': Resort Developers Celebrate Application Milestone

Nov. 7, 2007 — The Williams and Punch resort and casino development project on St. Croix passed a major milestone by submitting its application for Coastal Zone Management permits Wednesday afternoon, partner Chris Elliot told an enthusiastic group of supporters at Villa Morales Wednesday evening.
The large casino and resort project has been in the planning stages for several years now. (See "Premier Casino Operator Interested in St. Croix Project.")
Elliot was joined by Williams and Punch Chairman Cinque Dames, a representative of Connecticut's Mashantucket Pequot tribe, which is bankrolling the development. Joining the corporate principals to talk about the development planes, answer questions from the public and urge residents to get behind the long-awaited project were civic activist George Flores, St. Croix businesswoman Ann Abramson, Claire Roker of the Frederiksted Economic Development Association and Al Franklin of Our Town Frederiksted. These organizations and individuals volunteered their time and efforts, and have no affiliation with the project other than a desire to see a large resort development on the west end of St. Croix, Flores said.
"Today at 4 o'clock Cinque and Kevin (Rames) were at CZM with permit applications, and I followed very shortly after with the rest of the papers," Elliot said. "We filed for both land and water permits. I believe they were a little taken back because of the volume. We really tried to do our homework."
Rames, a St. Croix attorney, is a partner in the project. The amount of information given to CZM was massive, Elliot said.
"A lot of the information was on CD-ROM," he said. "But the summary was 168 pages, and there were many pounds of architectural drawings."
Dames agreed the amount of material was striking.
"It was literally like carrying logs in our arms, piles of architectural drawings," he said. "I think they were a little shocked. That is just the first step. There is a long way to go. But we intend to see this project through."
Developers Elliot, Rames and Dames spoke principally about the details of the project and what happens next. Abramson, Roker and the other volunteer boosters spoke of the need to be out in public supporting the project.
"If you are asleep, wake up," Abramson said. "The people of St. Croix need to take a more active role, a positive role, an aggressive role in what is happening here on the island. These people can't do it without we act as if we want it."
Abramson minced no words.
"The administration and the people we elected need to know where we stand," she said. "And not quiet talking on the corner style, but out loud. … We got a few deadheads among us who are always talking down everything new. But if everybody here takes a proactive position, nobody is going to talk us down. Get out in the community, and if anybody talks nonsense, talk them down. We got to get this in the community, and if it doesn't happen, it is our fault."
Franklin also urged people to get out in public and push to make the project happen.
"It needs all of our support, all of us to lobby, all of us to organize to push to make it happen," he said. "Without this, if anyone wants to hold a convention of 500 people or more, where are we going to put them?"
Retired doctor and St. Croix icon Olaf "Bronco" Hendricks said the project would benefit all on St. Croix.
"I am begging we remain sensitive to the notion that this is — as Ms. Abramson said, this is a St. Croix project," he said. "This is for all of us, and I would hate for anyone of us to think this will exclude any group or part of this island. … I am from St. Croix, no smaller denomination, and I will do all I can to support this project."
Another St. Croix icon, Otto Tranberg of Frederiksted, suggested organizing a community rally in support of Williams and Punch.
Echoing Franklin's point about the lack of hotel capacity on the island was Candia Atwater, director of the Caribbean Museum Center in Frederiksted. As an attorney, she said, she knows of more than one large group of attorneys, bar associations and the like, that would love to have their annual conferences on St. Croix — if only there were a hotel and conference center large enough to accommodate them.
St. Croix Administrator Pedro "Pete" Encarnacion was on hand to deliver a message from Gov. John deJongh Jr.
""I want to let each and everyone know, on behalf of the governor, we are in full support of the project and will make this dream come true," he said. "Our governor and the entire administration is in full support and will do what needs to be done to push this forward."
At 6 p.m. Thursday Dames, Rames and Elliot will be at Pier 69 on Strand Street in Frederiksted for another public meeting. There will be detailed plans, design drawings, artists' renderings and other information on the project on display and they will again answer questions, Elliot said.
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Nov. 7, 2007 -- The Williams and Punch resort and casino development project on St. Croix passed a major milestone by submitting its application for Coastal Zone Management permits Wednesday afternoon, partner Chris Elliot told an enthusiastic group of supporters at Villa Morales Wednesday evening.
The large casino and resort project has been in the planning stages for several years now. (See "Premier Casino Operator Interested in St. Croix Project.")
Elliot was joined by Williams and Punch Chairman Cinque Dames, a representative of Connecticut's Mashantucket Pequot tribe, which is bankrolling the development. Joining the corporate principals to talk about the development planes, answer questions from the public and urge residents to get behind the long-awaited project were civic activist George Flores, St. Croix businesswoman Ann Abramson, Claire Roker of the Frederiksted Economic Development Association and Al Franklin of Our Town Frederiksted. These organizations and individuals volunteered their time and efforts, and have no affiliation with the project other than a desire to see a large resort development on the west end of St. Croix, Flores said.
"Today at 4 o'clock Cinque and Kevin (Rames) were at CZM with permit applications, and I followed very shortly after with the rest of the papers," Elliot said. "We filed for both land and water permits. I believe they were a little taken back because of the volume. We really tried to do our homework."
Rames, a St. Croix attorney, is a partner in the project. The amount of information given to CZM was massive, Elliot said.
"A lot of the information was on CD-ROM," he said. "But the summary was 168 pages, and there were many pounds of architectural drawings."
Dames agreed the amount of material was striking.
"It was literally like carrying logs in our arms, piles of architectural drawings," he said. "I think they were a little shocked. That is just the first step. There is a long way to go. But we intend to see this project through."
Developers Elliot, Rames and Dames spoke principally about the details of the project and what happens next. Abramson, Roker and the other volunteer boosters spoke of the need to be out in public supporting the project.
"If you are asleep, wake up," Abramson said. "The people of St. Croix need to take a more active role, a positive role, an aggressive role in what is happening here on the island. These people can't do it without we act as if we want it."
Abramson minced no words.
"The administration and the people we elected need to know where we stand," she said. "And not quiet talking on the corner style, but out loud. ... We got a few deadheads among us who are always talking down everything new. But if everybody here takes a proactive position, nobody is going to talk us down. Get out in the community, and if anybody talks nonsense, talk them down. We got to get this in the community, and if it doesn't happen, it is our fault."
Franklin also urged people to get out in public and push to make the project happen.
"It needs all of our support, all of us to lobby, all of us to organize to push to make it happen," he said. "Without this, if anyone wants to hold a convention of 500 people or more, where are we going to put them?"
Retired doctor and St. Croix icon Olaf "Bronco" Hendricks said the project would benefit all on St. Croix.
"I am begging we remain sensitive to the notion that this is -- as Ms. Abramson said, this is a St. Croix project," he said. "This is for all of us, and I would hate for anyone of us to think this will exclude any group or part of this island. ... I am from St. Croix, no smaller denomination, and I will do all I can to support this project."
Another St. Croix icon, Otto Tranberg of Frederiksted, suggested organizing a community rally in support of Williams and Punch.
Echoing Franklin's point about the lack of hotel capacity on the island was Candia Atwater, director of the Caribbean Museum Center in Frederiksted. As an attorney, she said, she knows of more than one large group of attorneys, bar associations and the like, that would love to have their annual conferences on St. Croix -- if only there were a hotel and conference center large enough to accommodate them.
St. Croix Administrator Pedro "Pete" Encarnacion was on hand to deliver a message from Gov. John deJongh Jr.
""I want to let each and everyone know, on behalf of the governor, we are in full support of the project and will make this dream come true," he said. "Our governor and the entire administration is in full support and will do what needs to be done to push this forward."
At 6 p.m. Thursday Dames, Rames and Elliot will be at Pier 69 on Strand Street in Frederiksted for another public meeting. There will be detailed plans, design drawings, artists' renderings and other information on the project on display and they will again answer questions, Elliot said.
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.