V.I. still has not issued RFP for St. Croix stadium
Published: January 8, 2013
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ST. CROIX - More than five months after Gov. John deJongh Jr. voiced his continued commitment to rebuilding a stadium in Frederiksted, the government still has not reissued a request for proposals for the project.
Property and Procurement Commissioner Lynn Millin Maduro and Housing, Parks and Recreation Commissioner St. Claire Williams say that a new RFP is a work in progress.
Williams said he could not predict how long it would take for the government to come up with the new RFP.
In February, deJongh announced he had signed an agreement to develop a $55 million comprehensive sports complex in Frederiksted on the site of Paul E. Joseph Stadium. The agreement which had to go before the 29th Legislature for approval, called for the government to put up $30 million in taxpayer money.
The remaining $25 million for the project was to have come from private-sector partners.
The proposal - which was to include stadiums for baseball, tennis/volleyball and swimming, along with a Festival Village park - was touted as a boon for sports tourism.
On June 25, The Daily News published an investigative report, "Our Money, Their Failures," which found that some of the off-island contractors the government intended to partner with had misrepresented credentials and connections; amassed a history of financial troubles, foreclosures and failures that cast doubt on their ability to provide funds for the project; and had earned the distrust of some stateside governments.
The Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee, which had been scheduled that afternoon to consider the bill that would have authorized the sports complex proposal to move forward, instead tabled it at deJongh's request. The governor also asked the Senate president to put an indefinite hold on the bill.
On July 17, a few days after The Daily News published an article about two founding directors of one of the private-sector companies being charged with the federal crime of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, deJongh held a press conference.
During the press conference, he acknowledged that the government had failed to properly vet the principals of the companies and would do things differently moving forward.
DeJongh also expressed his commitment to rebuilding the stadium. He said at the time that Property and Procurement would be issuing a new RFP soon, once it closed out the process on the previous RFP.
The new vision for the project, according to Government House, involved tearing down and rebuilding the Frederiksted ballpark, with the possibility of a larger athletic development for other sports in the future.
"The demolition and reconstruction of Paul E. Joseph Stadium is still very much a priority for me and for this administration," deJongh said during the press conference. "I think it's critical and I think it's important. And we have the ability to finance it."
Financing for the project would come through Community Facilities Trust revenues, part of the rum coverover revenues coming to the territory as a result of its agreement with rum producer Diageo.
More than five months later, though, a new Paul E. Joseph RFP still has not been issued.
Last week, Williams said that there is a "process" that an RFP has to go through before it is published - and that the Paul E. Joseph RFP is not yet ready for publication. He said that his department and Property and Procurement are still in discussions.
Millin Maduro said the RFP would be reissued at some point.
"It's going to be reissued, they're just working on a new scope of work," she said.
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.