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Coral Bay Crowd Concerned About Emergency Response, Roads and Dripping Cement

Feb. 12, 2007 — Issues related to the Coral Bay area's rampant growth topped the list of concerns expressed to St. John's new administrator, Leona Smith, by many of the 75 people who attended Monday's Coral Bay Community Council meeting.
Catherine Taylor, who heads the island's Emergency Medical Services, told Smith that Coral Bay needs an EMS substation to decrease the amount of time it takes for a crew to respond to a call.
"And the community is growing," Taylor said at the meeting, held at the John's Folly Learning Institute.
Smith suggested that space could be found in the Police Department substation the government expects to build soon. Carol Beckowitz, who works with Taylor, said that even if it weren't possible to hire substation staff right away, it was important to get one built.
Others asked for an improved 911 system for St. John to prevent calls from being routed through St. Thomas, which often slows down response time.
Beckowitz and others spoke about the problems caused by cement dripping out the back of trucks as they head uphill. While the problem previously was limited to the East End, she said, it's now everywhere. The problem persists because there are no laws on the books to stop it, she said. The situation currently comes under litter laws, where the maximum fine is $1,000.
"They go to court and we're lucky if they pay $250," Beckowitz said.
Several people addressed problems caused by big trucks careening down the island's narrow and hilly roads. Linda Sorensen suggested that the size of trucks allowed on the roads be limited.
Raising another road issue, Robert Barlow noted that the Coral Bay area needs additional access because the only way in and out, Centerline Road, is vulnerable to mudslides. He suggested that the government finish paving Route 108, which connects Route 107 and Bordeaux Road.
"It's impassable," he said.
Barlow also suggested that the government pave King Hill Road, which runs from Centerline Road to Coral Bay past Coral Bay Gardens and Love City Minimart, to provide an alternate route.
Ann Glenn asked that Smith get someone to paint yellow lines on the roads, because those previously in place seem to have disappeared, she said.
A few people applauded Gov. John deJongh's promise to hire a planner for St. John.
A woman who said she worked at Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center asked that the facility receive attention, because it seems like the Roy L. Schneider Regional Medical Center has forgotten about it, she said.
Plans are underway to have most government agencies open offices on St. John so residents don't have to trek off to St. Thomas for services, Smith told the crowd.
Nearly everyone had kind words for Smith, who is well known to many in the room because she hails from Coral Bay, heads the committee that runs the island's July 4th Celebration and spent years dispensing business licenses at the St. John office of the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department.
Wil Henderson acknowledged the difficulty of her job.
"Congratulations, and my condolences," he said.
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