International group shows interest in Times Square project

February 28, 2006 by admin
Filed under: Events 

ST. CROIX РRenovation work is continuing at Sunday Market Square this winter as representatives of the St. Croix Foundation, which is managing the restoration, are being recognized for their efforts at a conference in Cura̤ao.

The area, known as Times Square, was renovated last year with wide sidewalks, a restored Danish well and mahogany trees, and the once-downtrodden street is now becoming an attractive square that the foundation hopes will develop into a flourishing business sector.

The project garnered attention from the International Downtown Association, which has invited Foundation Executive Director Roger Dewey to its leadership conference in Curaçao this week to discuss its work.

The Washington, D.C.-based IDA focuses on building partnerships to create city centers that anchor communities.

One business has already set up in the square. The Twin City Coffeehouse and Gallery opened its doors before Christmas on the ground level of the building adjacent to Diane Russell’s law office on the square.

With that anchor in place, work is continuing on the two buildings to the south. In the building next to the coffeehouse, the foundation is developing a small-business incubator. All structural work is complete there now and the foundation is soliciting additional bids to build out the interiors, according to William Taylor, master planner and architect for the square

The building would host several businesses but would pool resources such as reception, broadband Internet and office machines. There is also the possibility of an Internet videoconferencing room in the building that could be used by the public.

The foundation has received community development block grants for the project, money through the Public Finance Authority and federal grants.

The theater building that borders Company Street is progressing as well. Taylor has been working to repair the roof of the building, which was damaged during Hurricane Hugo and finished off by Hurricane Marilyn. The roof must be built to higher standards than it was designed for and Taylor is planning for increased weight loads to handle hanging lights and set items for the community theater the Foundation intends to create there.

The cost to renovate the entire building will be approximately $750,000, according to Dewey, and the foundation will have to start a fundraising campaign to finance all the improvements. The final result will be a theater open to community use. Dewey has said he envisions plays, shows and lectures taking place in the space, which can hold about 300 people.

While the re-opening of the theater is not planned for the short term, its marquee will soon be lit. Taylor said Monday that final light sockets have been received and the marquee will soon be used for foundation announcements.

Source: Virgin Islands Daily News

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