Feb. 19, 2003 – A group of hospitality sector business people wants to make the new St. Thomas Swimming Association Aquatic Center next to the V.I. National Guard Armory more inviting, and toward that end members will be planting about 35 shade trees on Saturday.
The project is being undertaken by the Hospitality Focus Group, made up of members of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association, the Tourism Department and the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce. The public is invited to help with the planting. Work is to begin at 7:30 a.m. Tools and light refreshments will be provided.
The trees are all native species.
"Native trees are very important because they are slowly being replaced by species that are not native to the Virgin Islands, which disturbs the natural balance of the island's ecology," said Jason Budsan, who chairs the group's tree planting committee.
He said a $9,000 grant from the U.S. Agriculture Department's Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program is funding the acquisition of the trees. But he added that many more are needed in the area and urged community groups and residents to take on the project of getting them in place. "It will make you feel better," he promised.
According to Budsan, Swimming Association members will get water from the armory to keep the trees well-watered while they take root.
He said the group expects to be planting five more shade trees soon as part of the renovations at the North Side Dorothea tot lot, too.
For more information, call Budsan at 777-7190 or 775-6048.
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