During a press conference on Tuesday, March 21, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. announced that the Territory has acquired about 69 acres of beachfront and Salt Pond property at the West End of St. Croix that will be included in the Territorial Park System.
In 2022, Governor Bryan created the Territorial Park System to ensure that unique habitats and ecosystems and cultural and historical resources are preserved, protected, maintained, and used for the long-term benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations.
The property, which is described as Plot No. Remainder H & S Hesselberg, consists of almost 2,000 feet of beachfront property and a third of the Salt Pond and is right next to the Vincent Mason Sr. Coral Resort and Pool in Frederiksted and Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge.
“By acquiring this property, we are able to preserve environmentally significant wetland and cultural resources, secure coastline and beach access for residents for generations to come, and expand camping and other recreational facilities for residents, among many other uses,” Governor Bryan said.
The property was listed for sale for $1.95 million and has an appraised value of $1.7 million; however, the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority was able purchase the property for $1.2 million with funds made available through the sale of the Kings Alley Hotel and Anchor Inn properties, which were sold in March 2022 for $3.65 million.
“If you will recall, when the PFA sold those properties, we promised to reinvest those proceeds in the island of St. Croix for the benefit of the people of the Virgin Islands,” Governor Bryan said. “We have delivered on this promise through the acquisition of the Hesselberg property and will continue to invest the remaining proceeds from the Kings Alley and Anchor Inn sale in St. Croix.”
The Governor also said the acquisition of the Hesselberg property is part of the bigger picture Land and Water Use Plan currently in process through the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
“More importantly, the acquisition of this property is also part of our broader push to finally develop a comprehensive land and water use plan that will ultimately determine – based on the input of our community – what land we want developed and how we would like to see it developed; what land we want to preserve for conservation and what land we want to preserve for recreation,” Governor Bryan said.