Is an adventure park possible for St. Croix? The Tourism Department wants to know, and to find out is soliciting proposals for a study to gather information on the feasibility of developing and constructing a water/adventure park.
“Something that takes into account and respects our culture and environment,” Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty said Thursday, adding that “it has to be financially feasible.”
Doty said that her vision calls for something like the Polynesian Cultural Center on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.
The Legislature last year approved a bill directing the Economic Development Authority, the Property and Procurement Department and the Tourism Department to solicit proposals for the St. Croix Ecological and Adventure Park on the island.
Doty said that rather than go forward on the park itself, it made more sense to first determine if it was feasible.
“We need to understand the economic and environmental impact,” she said, adding that the question of whether it should include water-based activities also needs to be answered.
Nereida "Nellie" Rivera-O’Reilly, who sponsored the bill, said that if the study determines the project is feasible, it could help put St. Croix on the map.
“And it could become a catalyst for other projects that have stalled,” she said, mentioning the William and Punch and Golden Gaming project.
Rivera-O’Reilly said that the possibility of the adventure park could help those developers get investment money so their projects can become a reality.
While the senator has a vision that was similar to Doty’s, she said it will be up to the investors to decide what the park will include. “But more cultural and historical rather than theme park,” she said.
According to Rivera-O’Reilly, three locations in Frederiksted and two on the East End were mentioned, but she thinks that a Frederiksted location is more feasible because of its proximity to the cruise ship pier.
The press release indicates that the feasibility study should recommend a location that will not only be economically viable but also sensitive to the environmental and community needs of the area. The venture should be a private/public partnership, and the feasibility study should include ancillary attractions in the water/adventure park as well as potential economic benefits for the surrounding area.
The Property and Procurement Department will accept bids until 4 p.m. (Atlantic Standard Time) on March 1.
For documents and further information, contact Lloyd T. Bough Jr. at 773-1561 ext. 5244.
Send bids to the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Department of Property and Procurement, #3274 Estate Richmond, Christiansted, St. Croix, VI 00820-4241.
For information about the Polynesian Cultural Center, visit http://www.polynesia.com.