April 16, 2009 After five and a half years, planning for the St. Croix Bike Path is in its final stage, Robert White, founder and president of Cruzan Bikeways, Inc., told the Rotary Club of St. Croix Thursday.
Before the calendar year is over we will start building the bike path, said White. By this time next year we hope to have pavement on the ground.
White said the final rights of way are getting straightened out, mapping is in final stages and the group is ready for final Coastal Zone Management approval.
The 14.5-mile long paved trail will begin east of Hovensa in Estate Humbug and run along South Shore Road to Point Udall. The path will have two lanes for cycling, with a margin for safety, and a third lane for joggers, walkers and skaters. Motorized vehicles will not be permitted.
The path was designed by Greenways, Inc. of Durham, N.C., which has planned and designed paths throughout the world.
This is the first bike path in the Caribbean and the first bike path with a casino on it, White quipped.
According to White, the bike path is expected to generate as much as $75 million annually in tourism revenues. He added St. Croix is known as a place where the out-of-doors recreation makes a visit worthwhile.
If you want to buy a watch you go to St. Thomas, White says. If you want to watch the sunset you come to St. Croix.
Construction costs of about $4 million are to be financed by the Federal Highway Administration. White said the legislature has given almost $50,000 over the years to keep the bike path plans going. Hovensa has donated $75,000 and has committed $125,000 for maintenance for five years.
The bike path will benefit from the Christiansted bypass with the collection of fill that will be used for the road base.
White says the bike path will provide safe, healthy recreation for local children and adults.
We are ready for the future and a healthy standard of living, White says. We are raising the standard in a very public way.
Cruzan Bikeways is a nonprofit corporation working in concert with the V.I. Government. It is supported with grants from Hovensa, the St. Croix Economic Development Fund and private and corporate sponsors. Tax deductible contributions can be mailed to Cruzan Bikeways, PO Box 24704, Gallows Bay, 00824.
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