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HomeNewsArchivesMagens Bay Authority Could Manage Lindqvist, But How Remains in Question

Magens Bay Authority Could Manage Lindqvist, But How Remains in Question

Nov. 17, 2006 — Magens Bay Authority is willing to take over management of Lindqvist Beach, but not without a deed to the property and the funds necessary to do the job.
Authority board members voted unanimously Friday in favor of managing the East End property, which the V.I. government purchased this week for $8.9 million.
The Magens Bay Authority has been courted by some government officials and members of the private sector to be the managing agency from the time that recent government ownership of Lindqvist was imagined because of the way it has handled the 68-acre Magens Bay park on the island's north side.
But agreeing in theory to manage the 21-acre site on the East End is only the first step in what will be a costly and lengthy process, those involved said Friday.
"We have to hit the ground running,"said Katina Coulianos, Magens Bay Authority board member. Given the current state of the property littered and crime ridden it is unwise to let it languish for very long, she said.
"We'll need lots of funding," said Aubrey Nelthropp, authority board chairman.
Sen. Patrick Louis Hill is preparing a bill that will include a $1.5 million appropriation that he believes will prove enough to get the infrastructure completed. Hill said Friday that once the necessary infrastructure is in place, he thinks the park could be self-sufficient within a year.
Along with money, Nelthropp said, the authority will need to have a deed much like the one that Magens Bay Authority holds in perpetuity for the people of the Virgin Islands.
Bill Jowers, who has managed Magens Bay for 26 years, expressed similar sentiments.
"Deed, rules, regulations all have to be in place," Jowers said in a phone interview Friday, noting that the government will also have to hire planners, engineers, and botanists. "It's a beautiful place," he said, reminiscing about playing at Lindqvist beach as a child. "It needs real TLC, and then it needs upkeep."
James O'Bryan Jr., who attended Friday's board meeting, was not as confident as Hill that $1.5 million would be enough to establish the necessary infrastructure.
"With the cost of construction going up every day, that $1.5 million might be enough to complete the security phase," O'Bryan said. But he expressed doubt that it would provide enough to build rest rooms and a concession stand, and repair the roads.
Magens Bay has an annual budget — much going to salaries — of about $1.3 million. It supports itself through entrance fees and the taxi, food and retail concessions.
For years the Legislature appropriated funds for the park; for years it never allocated the money.
Over the years the process of getting money to buy simple things like toilet paper was so difficult that the board decided to start its own fund, Coulianos said. Eventually that fund grew large enough to sustain the park without government contributions.
As for Lindqvist, right now there is nothing official in place, not even a written letter from the governor asking the authority to manage Lindqvist.
What will it take? "Everything that Magens Bay has, Lindqvist will need to have only smaller," Jower said. That would include a gate house, bath house, concession and security.
"It's ours," Jowers said, referring to the government, "but what the heck are we going to do with it?"
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