Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed contracts this week with Tip Top Construction for almost $8.4 million in renovations and revitalization on Main Street in downtown Charlotte Amalie and work should begin shortly, according to Government House.
The plans include new lighting designed to mimic historical fixtures, laying cobblestones, new sidewalks, drainage work and putting utilities underground. It also entails putting in a new water main, public trash receptacles, adding palm trees and tearing down and removing existing utility poles.
In a statement, Mapp emphasized that the work will not only provide major enhancement to downtown Charlotte Amalie, but also will employ many Virgin Islanders to do the work.
“This Main Street Revitalization Project will be the beginning of this administration’s vision to enhance not only the downtown area but the entire Charlotte Amalie waterfront from (West Indian Co. Ltd.) to Crown Bay," Mapp said.
He noted there are many revitalization projects currently throughout the territory, mentioning also the work on St. John’s Centerline Road and the Paul E. Joseph Stadium Project in St. Croix.
“The lieutenant governor and I are working hard to facilitate projects like these that will improve the lives of Virgin Islanders, put people to work and increase the income potential of the territory," he said.
Public Works Commissioner Gustav James said the work on the St. Thomas project will be performed at night “so as to not interfere with the daily commerce on Main Street."
The statement from Government House quotes St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce President Sebastiano Paiewonsky-Cassinelli as saying, "The revitalization of Main Street is the cornerstone for the revitalization of Charlotte Amalie and will solidify our position as a premiere destination for visitors."
"This investment in our infrastructure will improve our overall product and serve to showcase our unique historic district," Paiewonsky-Cassinelli said. “This beautification effort will enhance St. Thomas’ sense of place and will be a catalyst for other such public-private initiatives.”
He gave credit to the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Revitalization Inc., and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands for working together with the V.I. government and the Federal Highway Administration for getting the project off the ground.
Tip Top President Joe Hollins said his company is proud to be doing the work and that "by working together we will have a successful and timely completion of the Main Street Revitalization Project invigorating the economy for Virgin Islanders by Virgin Islanders.”
Actual construction is scheduled to start by the end of November, according to Government House.
During recent Senate hearings, James was asked if the work would be complete by March 2017, when the territory commemorates the centennial of the transfer from Denmark to the U.S. and James said the timeline is very close, but "the important parts should be complete by that time." (See Related Links below)