Traffic on St. Thomas can be hellish, a nightmare of narrow overflowing roads. One option, if you are staying at the Marriott Frenchman Reef Resort, is to hop on the ferry and cut out the stress and heat of midday traffic. A flat fee of $5 gets you across in 12 minutes. As you sail across you get a good view of the all-dominant Cruise Ships that line the dock. These masters of the ocean are jaw-droppingly large. Up to four can dock at a time - that can equal an influx of 12,000 tourists at a time. What is the first thing that the visitor sees, an ugly decrepit former Yacht Haven Hotel and surrounding waterfront area - located in downtown Charlotte Amalie. Hardly inviting.
Things are set to change following a deal between a citizen’s organisation and a private developer. $150 million has bee freed up to clear the smashed windows and rubbished pavements and allow redevelopment of the Hurricane Marilyn damaged eye-sore.
The agreement is between Nautica-USVI and the Save Long Bay Coalition (challengers of Insignia’s Coastal Zone Management permit), commits Insignia to improving public areas including a park and housing block. More pedestrian walkways will be implemented from the waterfront to downtown.
The battered hotel will be demolished and replaced with a yacht club and 160-occupancy marina. There will also be a 120-room hotel, conference centre alongside office and retail space.
Related articles on Caribbean Weekly:
(17/11/03) USVI among one of top 10 honeymoon destinations
(23/11/03) USVI gain even further applaud