87.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFederal Funds Go to Planned Coral Bay Marina on St. John

Federal Funds Go to Planned Coral Bay Marina on St. John

A $1.3 million Boating Infrastructure Grant from the federal Fish and Wildlife Service will go toward construction of a planned 96-slip marina in Coral Bay, St. John, to be built by Summer’s End, said Roy Pemberton, director of the Planning and Natural Resources Department’s Fish and Wildlife Division. According to information from federal Fish and Wildlife, the grant must be matched with $1.4 million in other funds.

“Although the marina plans to also serve boaters leasing year-round slips, the BIG program only supports that portion of the facility that will serve visiting transient, recreational boaters,” Paul VanRyzin of the Boating Infrastructure Grant program said in an emailed response to questions sent via the agency’s public information office.

VanRyzin could not be reached for further clarification but, in his emailed response, he said there would be 36 slips for transient boaters.

Information in a press release from federal Fish and Wildlife indicated that Planning will partner with private investment groups to establish the marina.

Advertising (skip)

The press release indicated the grant would fund a boating activity center as well as power and water for eligible transient boaters.

Coral Bay Community Council President Sharon Coldren was stunned to learn about the grant and that “public infrastructure” money would be used for private development.

“That won’t get you through the permit process,” Coldren said of the total amount of federal funding.

She said she was surprised that the local government didn’t ask for input from Coral Bay boaters before the grant request was made.

Coldren also said the grant request should receive scrutiny by Gov. John deJongh Jr.’s boating task force.

Pemberton said the department’s only role in the process was to facilitate the grant request. He said that private entities can solicit funds as long as the request is facilitated by the “state.”

“Since state and territorial agencies cannot always afford to provide the full array of public boating facilities demanded by transient recreational boaters, these agencies often partner with the private sector to establish and operate such facilities for the benefit of the boating public,” VanRyzin said.

According the federal Fish and Wildlife request for grant applications, successful applicants must provide evidence of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Historical Preservation Act, and other federal laws as part of the post-award approval process.

VanRyzin said that the Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over marine projects. He said that local Fish and Wildlife and their partners have certified to federal Fish and Wildlife that the proposed project will fully comply with all Corps of Engineers and other permitting requirements.

Pemberton identified the developer as Chaliese Summers, who is in partnership with Rick Barksdale. Barksdale could not be reached for comment, but said at a meeting held Dec. 11, 2012, in Coral Bay that an area across from Cocoloba shopping center was under consideration for the marina.

“That’s not an environmentally good place to put a marina,” Coldren said, citing the sea grass beds in the area.

VanRyzin put the location along Route 107, which is where Cocoloba shopping center is located.

According to Pemberton, the project is in its infancy stages. “There are a whole lot of other things to work out in terms of procedure,” he said, adding that Summer’s End has done a pre-application for the required Coastal Zone Management Permit.

VanRyzin said that if the project doesn’t go forward, the money will be returned to Fish and Wildlife for use in other projects.

Another marina is also in the works in the vicinity of the Coral Bay dinghy dock. The land runs from Skinny Legs Restaurant to the ballfield. It is leased by T-Rex Corp. from the Moravian Church. T-Rex has a 99-year lease on the property that began in 2006.

The federal Fish and Wildlife Boating Infrastructure Grant was one of three announced in the press release. Others went to Rivera Beach in Florida for marine transient docks and to Charleston, S.C., for transient docking.

“The BIG program is one of many ways we support access and provide quality outdoor opportunities for the nation’s recreational anglers and boaters,” Assistant Director Hannibal Bolton of federal Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program said in a press release. “These grants also spur major construction projects, create jobs and provide much-needed economic benefits.”

VanRyzin said in his email that the focus of the program is to develop facilities and services for boats that are 26 feet and larger.

“In other words, typical cruising-size boats, either sailboats or powerboats,” VanRyzin said.

He said supported facilities can include docks and piers, moorings, fueling and sewage pump-out stations, and boating services such as marina restrooms. These facilities must be open and available to the public if they are funded with BIG program resources.

Funding for the BIG program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and
Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and gasoline.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.


Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.




Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
This message is only visible to admins.
Problem displaying Facebook posts.
Error: Server configuration issue