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Sunday, February 5, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesGovernment Soliciting Proposals to Rebuild Frederiksted Stadium

Government Soliciting Proposals to Rebuild Frederiksted Stadium

The Sports, Parks and Recreation Department is now soliciting proposals to finance, design and develop the complete renovation of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium on St. Croix and to develop a Christmas festival village in Frederiksted, Commissioner St. Claire Williams announced Wednesday.

Work will include demolition of the existing facilities and construction of a 3,500-seat baseball stadium and a Little League facility complete with team amenities with a capacity of 750 to 1,000 seats, Williams said.

“The objective of the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation is to provide a state-of- the-art recreational facility for visitors, guests and the people of the Virgin Islands,” Williams said in a statement from his office.

The Department of Property and Procurement will receive proposals until 4 p.m., Feb. 27.

Williams said the request for proposal documents are available online at the Property and Procurement Department’s website, dpp.vi.gov.

This solicitation for bids comes in the wake of the cancelation of stadium renovation plans last year after revelations in the news about the financial woes and exaggerated credentials of some of the project’s partners.

In early 2012, the Gov. John deJongh Jr. administration presented the Legislature with a Memorandum of Agreement between the V.I. government and GlobeVest V.I. outlining plans for a $55 million multi-sport arena at the location of Paul E. Joseph Stadium in Frederiksted.

Under the terms of the agreement, the territory would have invested $30 million, most of which would have been funded with bonds financed through the Communities Facilities Trust account, a fund established in Diageo’s operating agreement with the V.I. Government. The agreement states that Diageo’s new distillery will deposit “3 percent of the annual gross cover over receipts” into the fund,

But the project was canceled, after the Daily News uncovered financial woes and exaggerated credentials among the partners. Shortly afterward, deJongh issued a statement acknowledging the government did not sufficiently vet its partners in the proposed Frederiksted sports complex. The governor promised improvements to the process and pledged to quickly issue a new request for proposals.

“I still remain committed to seeing a baseball stadium at the Paul E. Joseph site,” deJongh said in July of 2012. “It’s critical, it’s important, and we have the ability to finance it,” he said at the time, recalling that the rum tax revenues that would have funded part of the GlobeVest project remain available.

Reached Thursday afternoon, Williams said the government was looking for a public-private partnership to rebuild the stadium.

"The government will be putting up some funding and looking for some funding from a private entity as well," Williams said.

The festival village and the stadium would be publicly owned, he said, "but in terms of the stadium, there could be something incorporated with (it) like a vendors plaza or that sort of thing," he said. "We are looking at the stadium as a multipurpose facility," he said.

Along with private investment, Williams said, funding would come in part from the aforementioned Community Facilities Trust. "The rum funds would be part of it," he said, adding that there were also funds appropriated by the 29th Legislature through a bond issue authorization.

In November the Legislature approved bonding authority to pay for an array of capital expenses, from a new fleet of police cars to projects at both the territory’s hospitals. The authorizing legislation earmarked $2.5 million toward construction of a permanent building and other permanent facilities for the annual Crucian Christmas Festival.

DeJongh foreshadowed Wednesday’s announcement, mentioning that the RFP was coming soon during his recent state of the territory address and in interviews with the Source and other media outlets.

DeJongh also said action should start happening soon on two other Frederiksted capital projects: renovations to the Oscar E. Henry Customs House and RFPs for an adventure or water park north of Frederiksted.

The last item would require entrepreneurial investors and is a more speculative venture than the stadium work and Customs House renovations, which would be performed at least in part at public expense.

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