A new business coming to the Smith Bay area promises new jobs and an influx of tax revenues once the government allows it to get off the ground, according to one owner.
Local businessman and former senator Allison “Allie” Petrus spoke to members of the Smith Bay Community Action Foundation and the Citizens and Police Association (CAPA) about taking over the former Domino’s gas station and helping to clean up the surrounding area by contributing to both groups and their ongoing revitalization efforts.
Petrus said that he hopes to bring 100 new jobs to the area and currently has more than 200 applications, but has been held up by the government permitting process, which he’s now been in for a year. The government will also be able to bring in $500,000 in new taxes from the businesses, which also include a takeover of the former Domino’s gas station near Charlotte Amalie High School and another project in Red Hook, Petrus said.
Hoping that the process is near done, Petrus said that the gas station in Smith Bay will have all new equipment, including dispensers and tanks, along with an additive that will give the station a top tier fuel designation. Petrus said he would not be rehabbing the building attached to the station, but has been focused on cleaning up the property, which he said has been littered with everything from drug paraphernalia to trash.
Residents said the new business would help uplift the area and they commended Petrus for agreeing to join a new organization initiative to put more surveillance cameras in the area. CAPA representatives have previously campaigned for more cameras on the East End of St. Thomas in an effort to help Police catch the rapist who has been assaulting female residents since late last year.
“This was an eyesore to the community,” one resident said of the gas station, which has remained vacant for more than a year.
Petrus, in return, said his experiences in business have made him more aware of “everything that is wrong with us.”
“But you guys have given me hope,” he said. “This is everything that is right with us, and is great to see the community banding together to get things done.”
Foundation and CAPA members said there will be three upcoming events in the area that are meant to offer the community, especially its younger members, some more community oriented options for fun. Events are:
Saturday, May 27: a Cultural Kaleidoscope event that will be open to vendors and feature various entertainment. Booths can register for $25 and a $2 admission fee will be charged.
Sunday, May 28: the second Smith Bay Agricultural Fair, which will be held at the ballpark. A $2 admission fee will be charged.
Details are still coming together for the Foundation’s annual Labor Day Extravaganza, which will be held in September.