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Developer Sought for Stadium, Race Track Improvements

April 17, 2008 — Improving the Clinton Phipps Race Track and building a state of the art stadium on St. Thomas will cost about $15 million, a Senate committee learned Thursday, and the search is on for a private developer to help make it happen.
Housing, Parks and Recreation Commissioner St. Claire N. Williams said plans for the new facility were submitted last year by Boschulte Design Studio. He told the Senate Committee on Housing, Sports and Veterans Affairs that the plans feature a three-level stadium complete with indoor bleachers, restaurant, concession stands, and media boxes. Improvements to the existing stables and parking area are also anticipated.
Williams said Housing, Parks and Recreation officials were "surprised" at the $15 million figure and were looking for a way to cut the costs.
"We will also issue a request for proposals for a developer interested in investing in this venture, and to promote and manage this facility," Williams said.
"The review and selection process will include the St. Thomas-St. John Horseracing Commission, who will select the promoter. It is the understanding that funding for the project will be provided by the developer. Compensation will be negotiated during the selection process."
Williams said that he has already received calls from parties interested in investing in the track. But he said the the Coastal Zone Management commission has raised concerns about the Boschulte Design plans .
Senator Usie Richards said he was concerned that improvements at Clinton Phipps do not include plans to expand the track itself.
"It looks like you just want to improve the facility and not improve horse racing. Because I don’t see how you can improve the ability for more than six horses to run at Clinton Phipps without looking at the size and design of the track," Richards said.
Clinton Phipps has recently undergone some major renovations, with residents greeted at pre-Carnival races last month with a covering over the bleachers, a new winner's circle and improvements to the concession stands and restrooms. The renovations cost $700,000 and were funded through a $2.5 million appropriation made by senators last year.
St. Thomas-St. John Horse Owner's Association President Lauritz David told the committee that his organization had no input on the improvements at the track.
"We were informed after the decisions were being made," David said. "The horse owners spend the most time around the race track. To me, this shows a lack of consideration for the horse owners. After all, without the horsemen, there would be no horse racing and all we're asking for is some consideration and input on the development of the race track."
Senators said Housing, Parks and Recreation should consult the Horse Owners Association on how the remaining $1.8 million appropriated for improvements at the track is spent. David had additional suggestions.
"We have a lot of problems right now with our stables. The horse runs based on the environment he's in. Right now, we have rats out there that walk right up to you and right into the horse feed," David said.
"We have pigeons that come over the top and defecate in the horse water. There are cobwebs on the roof that go into the horses' lungs. We had to fix the doors on the stables ourselves, and fix the roof to keep away the cobwebs."
Williams said Housing, Parks and Recreation would be using another $200,000 to fix up the stables, and might put the leftover money toward the construction of the new stadium.
Attending the meeting were Senators Liston Davis, Carlton Dowe, Shawn Michael Malone, Basil Ottley, Usie Richards, Carmen Wesselhoft, Celestino White Sr., and Alvin Williams.
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April 17, 2008 -- Improving the Clinton Phipps Race Track and building a state of the art stadium on St. Thomas will cost about $15 million, a Senate committee learned Thursday, and the search is on for a private developer to help make it happen.
Housing, Parks and Recreation Commissioner St. Claire N. Williams said plans for the new facility were submitted last year by Boschulte Design Studio. He told the Senate Committee on Housing, Sports and Veterans Affairs that the plans feature a three-level stadium complete with indoor bleachers, restaurant, concession stands, and media boxes. Improvements to the existing stables and parking area are also anticipated.
Williams said Housing, Parks and Recreation officials were "surprised" at the $15 million figure and were looking for a way to cut the costs.
"We will also issue a request for proposals for a developer interested in investing in this venture, and to promote and manage this facility," Williams said.
"The review and selection process will include the St. Thomas-St. John Horseracing Commission, who will select the promoter. It is the understanding that funding for the project will be provided by the developer. Compensation will be negotiated during the selection process."
Williams said that he has already received calls from parties interested in investing in the track. But he said the the Coastal Zone Management commission has raised concerns about the Boschulte Design plans .
Senator Usie Richards said he was concerned that improvements at Clinton Phipps do not include plans to expand the track itself.
"It looks like you just want to improve the facility and not improve horse racing. Because I don’t see how you can improve the ability for more than six horses to run at Clinton Phipps without looking at the size and design of the track," Richards said.
Clinton Phipps has recently undergone some major renovations, with residents greeted at pre-Carnival races last month with a covering over the bleachers, a new winner's circle and improvements to the concession stands and restrooms. The renovations cost $700,000 and were funded through a $2.5 million appropriation made by senators last year.
St. Thomas-St. John Horse Owner's Association President Lauritz David told the committee that his organization had no input on the improvements at the track.
"We were informed after the decisions were being made," David said. "The horse owners spend the most time around the race track. To me, this shows a lack of consideration for the horse owners. After all, without the horsemen, there would be no horse racing and all we're asking for is some consideration and input on the development of the race track."
Senators said Housing, Parks and Recreation should consult the Horse Owners Association on how the remaining $1.8 million appropriated for improvements at the track is spent. David had additional suggestions.
"We have a lot of problems right now with our stables. The horse runs based on the environment he's in. Right now, we have rats out there that walk right up to you and right into the horse feed," David said.
"We have pigeons that come over the top and defecate in the horse water. There are cobwebs on the roof that go into the horses' lungs. We had to fix the doors on the stables ourselves, and fix the roof to keep away the cobwebs."
Williams said Housing, Parks and Recreation would be using another $200,000 to fix up the stables, and might put the leftover money toward the construction of the new stadium.
Attending the meeting were Senators Liston Davis, Carlton Dowe, Shawn Michael Malone, Basil Ottley, Usie Richards, Carmen Wesselhoft, Celestino White Sr., and Alvin Williams.
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.