Nov. 15, 2006 — After years of legal wrangling, Lindqvist Beach is within "breathing distance" of becoming official V.I. government property.
Solicitor General Elliott McIver Davis said Wednesday evening that he had met with the principals and their attorney Wednesday afternoon to conclude the sale. However, Davis said, "We closed in escrow today because there was a problem with a check from the government. It is going to be run tonight, and we will conclude the sale at 8:30 tomorrow morning."
Davis said, "Its been a long road to finally acquire this property for the people of the Virgin Islands, but now it will be available to the public in perpetuity."
Before the problem with the check had been detected, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull issued a release Wednesday afternoon stating that the $8.9 million sale had been concluded Wednesday.
Turnbull said, "This acquisition is something this administration has fought hard to achieve. I am proud to say it preserves one of the last pristine beachfront properties on St. Thomas' East End."
The property has been the target of repeated efforts at private development and the subject of endless Coastal Zone Management committee hearings. (For a brief history of the Lindqvist saga, see " Battle Continues for Lindqvist Beach").
The government attempted to obtain the property through the eminent domain process last year, but that effort was stymied when Judge Brenda Hollar dismissed the case. The government appealed the decision, and the matter was pending until the current sale, which renders the appeal moot.
While the appeal was pending, Davis and Sen. Louis Hill, also a longtime champion for the beach acquisition, have been working with the owners to reach the current settlement.
Davis was tired but clearly elated Wednesday evening. He has had a role in acquiring the beach property for years. "Fifteen years ago, I was counsel for the Board of Land Use Appeals when previous owners were trying to develop it," Davis said. "From that point onwards, in one fashion or another, Ive been involved in efforts to preserve it and make it the Virgin Islands' beach."
He added, "Its like my child, and I hope it doesnt come home to live again."
The governor mentioned in his release that consideration is being given to have the Magens Bay Authority be responsible for the preservation and development of the 20.93-acre property for public recreational use.
Davis said, "Im a member of the authority, so there is a sort of synergy there from a personal perspective."
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