Aug. 21, 2003 – The Senate Housing, Parks and Recreation Committee scrapped its plans to take testimony on the status of the V.I. Housing Authority on Thursday, a day after the agency was placed in federal receivership, but proceeded to address plans for a sports complex on St. Croix and Casino Control Commission funding for recreational activities.
The sports complex dominated discussion at the hearing, according to a release from the Legislature, with two commissioners at an apparent standoff regarding the land currently envisioned for the facility. The hearing took place in Frederiksted.
Agriculture Commissioner Lawrence Lewis testified concerning the parcel of the Harveland properties in Estate Body Slob. He noted that the parcel is home now to the Farmers Market, the Fishermen's Market, a Vitran bus stop and a barbecue establishment.
He also said that 82.7 acres is leased to St. Croix Dairy Products, and that the acreage is Windsor Dairy Farm's primary source of green chop, which is combined with grain as food for dairy cattle because it yields a high-quality milk.
Lewis suggested other sites for the sports facility be considered, saying South Shore or East End locales would be more appropriate.
Housing, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ira Hobson said he had learned that only 30 acres of the Harveland parcel is currently available for the sports complex because of the land leased to farmers. He said he had written to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull asking him to turn the remainder of the land over to HPR.
Sen. Emmett Hansen II, the committee chair, suggested that Lewis and Hobson seek a compromise and offered to set up a meeting of the two with Dewayne Benjamin, the Property and Procurement Department's property director.
Hobson also told the committee his department has received $500,000 from the Casino Revenue Fund and that a number of youth programs have received funding as a result.
Hansen pointed out that the St. Thomas-St. John district received the majority of the funding, although the money was generated on St. Croix. He said the difference should be made up with additional funding for youth groups on St. Croix.
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