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HomeNewsLocal governmentFrederiksted May Get Bottled Water, Water Bill Discounts, and, Finally, a Baseball...

Frederiksted May Get Bottled Water, Water Bill Discounts, and, Finally, a Baseball Stadium

Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory said Tuesday’s appropriation would not be the last for the stadium. (Photo by Jamal Potter, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)

On Tuesday, the Senate passed bills to “ease the pain” of St. Croix’s West End residents who have been impacted by the Water and Power Authority’s brown water, testing of which has shown some elevated levels of copper and lead.

One measure would bring direct aid by making $350,000 available to impacted residents to buy bottled water. Another measure would mandate discounts on the water bills of affected residents for six months. Water and Power Authority officials have shown some resistance to billing abatements in previous hearings. They have said that the water is suitable for many uses, and the levels of lead and copper go down after a customer flushes their system.

The third measure would mandate that WAPA and any other water producer for public consumption test for lead and copper at least once a year. Sen. Angel Bolques said the actions were “quick” and “proactive” ways to address the water crisis.

Sen. Samuel Carrión said the measures “will bring some relief to the thousands affected.” He also said that the mandated testing will help the territory “avoid being again in the situation we are in today.”

Those three bills passed the Senate with no dissenting votes and will be presented to the governor for consideration.

Also passed in Tuesday’s session was an appropriation of $5.1 million for the Paul E. Joseph Stadium. The stadium has been on the drawing board for more than a decade and has undergone changes, with three different governors overseeing the project. Several senators said they hoped this would be the last appropriation needed for the project. Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory said the total appropriated for the project so far was $32 million. She added that she believed another appropriation request would come when work started on the part of the project dealing with the section connected to the Festival Village.

Sen. Franklin Johnson said he had passed the stadium site on a recent walk, and it would be a “beauty.” He also said if it is promoted as an attractive sports tourism destination, it could be an economic driver for Frederiksted.

Earlier in the day, the senators approved two leases. One lease was to Sandcastle on the Beach for No. 128-B and Plot 129 Two Brothers, Smithfield, and Hesselberg, West End Quarter. The plots are adjacent to the hotel on St. Croix.

The other lease agreement was to Inter Island Auto Group for Parcel No. 70 Submarine Base, No. 6A Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, to be used as a new and used car dealership, repair shop, and retail shop.

Sen. Marise James was the only senator absent.

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