Paul E. Joseph Stadium Rendering By GOVERNMENT HOUSE
ST. CROIX — The completion of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium in Frederiksted, which broke ground during the waning days of the John P. de Jongh administration and went through all sorts of changes under the Kenneth Mapp administration, is getting yet another go at completion, this time under the administration of the current governor, who recently forwarded legislation to the Senate seeking an extra $8.2 million to complete the work.
In April of last year, Governor Albert Bryan said there was $30 million in place to build the stadium, and that his administration would try to work with what was available. “What we’re going to try to do is build it within the scope of the money we have,” the governor said. “We got the money from the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the expansion of the drainage and everything.”
Now, however, Mr. Bryan is asking the Senate to provide the additional funding from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund to complete the work. The Government House release did not provide a breakdown of the funds' use, nor did it have attached the legislation which would probably provide more details. A bill number, which would be useful in searching the Senate's database for the governor's bill submission, was not included.
Mr. Mapp had sought the additional funding from USACE, as the former governor's plan was to facilitate a sporting complex that played an integral role in his Frederiksted Revitalization Plan. In August 2017, Mr. Mapp asked the Legislature to authorize and appropriate an additional $9 million to complete what his administration said was phase 2 of the project. The former governor said at the time that the amount previously approved for the stadium did not include costs of civil engineering requirements to protect persons and property in Frederiksted from flooding. He said that the original authorization — which the administration said in August 2017 was $18.65 million, down from $20 million — was not enough. The additional funding was to include $6 million from a Limetree Bay Terminals fund originally designated for construction of tanks to store bitumen, which the administration said was not needed by the company at the time.
Another $2 million would have been provided through the Community Facilities Trust Account created through the Diageo agreement; and another $1 million from the St. Croix Capital Improvement Fund.
But with USACE providing the drainage funding that Mr. Mapp had originally sought from the Senate, the question remains what, exactly, will the additional $8.2 million that Mr. Bryan is requesting be used for.
Mr. Bryan is well aware of how the project’s delay buffeted his predecessor and in April 2019 had been keen on making sure that the stadium was built before his term is up. “The scope of where it was being proposed by the previous administration, we simply don’t have the money,” Mr. Bryan told this publication in April 2019. “So what we’re doing is we’re doing as much as we can with the money we have, and then we could always add on as money comes in.”
In June 2019, Coastal Systems USVI, which represented the Mapp administration in the development of the stadium, told The Consortium that if all went as planned, work would be completed by early 2021. While this timeline is six years after the project had its first groundbreaking event in December of 2014, Coastal Systems USVI Director of Operations, Tim Dempsey, assured The Consortium back then that the wait would be worth it.
“To attract quality sporting events, we must build and maintain quality sporting venues. Without question, our Administration remains committed to the renovation of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium in Frederiksted, and we anticipate its long-awaited completion within the next 12 months,” Mr. Bryan said during his State of the Territory Address in January.
This article has a timeline of events regarding the stadium.