St. Thomas—Senate President Novelle E. Francis, Jr. today led a delegation comprised of senators and staff of the 35th Legislature on a site visit of the properties involved in the St. John land exchange proposed by Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. The tour was conducted in partnership with the Virgin Islands National Park Service under the direction of Superintendent Nigel Fields. The St. John Administrator, Shikima Jones Sprauve, also participated.
The group sailed out to Whistling Cay, where they disembarked to walk the pebble beach and discuss the cultural and natural resources of the 14-acre site. Upon the return to St. John, the group visited Estate Catherineberg, an 11-acre parcel located in the Virgin Islands National Park. At Catherineberg, the group learned more about the parcel’s landscape and historical features. Dionne Wells-Hedrington, Commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Education, and VIDE Architect, Chaneel Callwood, joined this leg of the tour and were available to respond to questions about the proposed site of the St. John K-12 school.
Francis said he thought it was important for his colleagues to personally visit the properties involved in the proposed land exchange. “This proposal before the Legislature will have lasting implications for the people of St. John and for this territory,” Francis stated. “This tour allowed my colleagues to become better educated on this issue and to gain a first-hand perspective on these properties.” Francis thanked the Park Service for their assistance in facilitating the site visit and also expressed his appreciation to all who submitted comments to be part of the public record in advance of the Committee of the Whole.
The proposed land exchange will be discussed in the Committee of the Whole, scheduled for July 11, 2023, in the Cleone H. Creque Legislative Conference Room on St. John. The meeting will begin at 3:00 p.m.