Every time I come down Bluebeard's/Cowpet/ Nazareth/Vessup Road (Highway 322 to newcomers) to the Red Hook Road, I look across at what must be one of the few remaining possibilities for a real, honest to goodness cricket pitch.
Yes, the old Nazareth emergency housing site would make a great cricket pitch.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency really is doing right by the community by returning this lovely expanse to its native brush, but wild tamarind simply does not seem to be in anyone's best interest.
Oh, I know; there was the tree boa. But has anyone observed the total lack of concern on the part of the Department of Exploitation, or was it Conservation and Cultural Affairs, or Planning and National Resources, or whatever? I mean, who is the squatter (?)/landowner (?) with all the flotsam shanties, junk cars and trucks, etc., on the bulldozed land immediately behind the emergency housing area? Surely the resident goats are killing anything and everything the land ever produced.
A good cricket pitch is simple fulfillment of an almost-40-year Virgin Islander dream.
In the '60s, Gov. Ralph M. Paiewonsky sent two young Virgin Islanders to Harvard to become experts in city planning. I mean, these young gentlemen didn't do it the easy way, they took on the best. Their senior project culminated in the General Physical Plan for 1980. This master plan delineated a community of work and play designed to provide Virgin Islanders with an environment conducive to optimal mental and physical health and tourists with a reason to come and spend money needed for economic health.
Yes, Gertrude, the Nazareth area was planned for a knock-down, drag-them-out, first-class sports complex. Baseball field, soccer field, Olympic swimming pool and 18-hole golf course meandering out past Shark Bay to Cabrita Point and back.
Well, Ducks, in more than one community, the local National Guard Armory is THE town basketball stadium. We already have a start at an Olympic-swimming complex, and given our changing community where the biggest ethnic group stems from St. Kitts, followed by Antigua, we could do worse than a first-class cricket pitch.
For openers, the ground has been well leveled. Thank you, FEMA! For another, the water AND nutrient are readily available from the sewage treatment plant and its use on the cricket pitch would keep it from being dumped in the estuary causing algae buildup.
The pitch could have a professional bleacher with locker rooms, dormitory for visiting players, snack bar, offices and public facilities. The complex parking could be at the far end next to the new high school gymnasium and do double duty.
Of course, there must be a no-nonsense rule that NO NOISE be allowed after 10 p.m. (or maybe even 9). While cricket is a quiet game, we know cricketers like to party just like everyone else (man does not live by tea and scones alone) and the pitch would be a natural with its facilities under the bleachers, nice open field and ample parking.
Anyone for cricket?
Editor's note: Kirk Grybowski is a 31-year resident of St. Thomas trained in economics and urban land use. He is retired from the V.I. government and enjoying his home.