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Wednesday, October 5, 2022


By next tourist season, visitors should have a safe overlook where they can photograph Charlotte Amalie, gaze at the harbor and buy T-shirts without blocking traffic on Skyline Drive.
Work is to commence later this month to expand Valdemar Hill overlook 60 feet outward, install benches, create about a dozen parking spaces and landscape the area, which is now little more than a wide spot in the road across from Louisenhoj Castle.
"The culmination of this long-awaited overlook is a welcome and long desired improvement to our infrastructure," Gov. Charles Turnbull said at a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday. "It's one of the most beautiful sites on the planet.
On a clear day, you can see the large and beautiful island of St. Croix, which reminds us we are part of one Virgin Islands family."
The $950,000 project, which the government expects to complete in April 2000, is completely funded by the Federal Highway Administration. The new overlook will be 60 feet deep and 100 feet wide; it will jut out over the hillside 40 feet.
The overlook will be closed during construction. The Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation had to relocate the vendors who usually occupy it.
The government purchased the land in 1992 with the intent to construct an overlook.
"This is a shining spot on the island of St. Thomas," said Valdemar Hill Jr. The road and overlook are named for his father.
Assistant Public Works Commissioner Wayne Callwood said the new overlook would enhance tourists' visits to the island.
"This should put a shot in the arm of tourism. The project will show the world we are a competitive and marketable destination," Callwood said. "It's just one of the steps to help us raise our standards."
Acting Commissioner of Tourism Monique Sibilly-Hodge asked residents to be patient during the construction.
"It will provide us with a site to appreciate the splendor of Charlotte Amalie," she said. "But this project will no doubt task the patience and commitment to improve the island of those of us who travel this road daily."
"Remember," she said, "the road to progress is always under construction."

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