Gov. John deJongh Jr. signed a contract with General Engineering Corporation, for the long-awaited reconstruction of Frederiksted’s Paul E. Joseph Stadium, Government House announced Sunday.
The $20 million contract calls for the demolition of the current structure, and design and construction of a new stadium, sports complex, Little League field, and Carnival Village.
GEC is based on St. Croix, according to Government House, and John Wessel is president. The company won the contract through a bidding process.
The contract specifies that GEC will supply all labor, materials and equipment necessary for the project, located in Estate La Grange. The amendment to the financing vehicle specifies that "unemployed qualified residents" of the Virgin Islands must be given first preference in hiring.
"The reconstruction of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium will have a lasting effect on St. Croix, and particularly Frederiksted," deJongh said. "When the project is completed, in about 30 months, we will be able to attract athletic tournaments, races, exhibitions and any number of events to St. Croix. I believe that the sports complex will have a major economic impact on the island, as it is estimated that the new facility could attract up to 80 sanctioned events each year. I am so pleased that this project is finally going forward, as it has been an initiative high on my agenda for several years now."
DeJongh’s feelings were echoed by St. Claire N. Williams, commissioner of Sports, Parks and Recreation.
"I am extremely pleased that our efforts over past several years to put the mechanism in place for the reconstruction of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium and the Terrence Martin Ball Field into a sports complex has finally come to fruition," Williams said. "I look forward to the construction of the state-of-art multi-purpose sports facility and carnival village that our residents, our visitors and particularly our young people can enjoy."
Joining the governor in signing was the managing partner of General Engineering Corporation, the Commissioner of Sports, Parks and Recreation, the Commissioner of Property and Procurement.
The project is being funded by bonding authorization approved by the Legislature in Act No. 7453 in 2012 and amended by Act No. 7663 in 2014, and is being handled by the Public Finance Authority.
Paul E. Joseph Stadium was named after a St. Croix legislator, editor and publisher, and civil rights activist, who died in 1966. The stadium was named after Joseph in 1964 and after reconstruction will continue to bear his name, the news release said.