Work on Down Street harbor project stopped

POSTED: 04/15/14 1:06 AM

St. Maarten – Construction on the Harbour Group of Companies’ much touted Down Street Cruise Heritage Development has ground to an absolute halt. Reports reaching this newspaper are that the funds for the estimated $2 million project have dried up for one reason or another, and until they flow again contractor Windward Roads Infrastructure, the company hired to execute the works, will not continue to build.

The project was approved and signed into effect on February 7 of this year by Minister of Tourism Ted Richardson and made public through a press release to local media on February 10. The project was expected to be completed in August of this year the Harbor Group, Minister, and Windward Roads’ management said, but that now seems unlikely since building activity has ceased indefinitely.

The project entailed six wooden cabanas to be used for either a bar or restaurant, the selling of arts and crafts, etc. The plans also included toilet facilities, lockers, parking for 5 taxis with 50 more spaces on the beachside, and a water fountain as well as being wheelchair accessible. The intention of behind the project is to economically revitalize the Down Street part of Philipsburg, a section of the capital that has not benefitted as much from the cruise industry as other parts have.

Harbor Group CEO Mark Mingo was enthusiastic about the project back in February, saying, “This new development will enhance the tourist product in Philipsburg. This will be a success for Down Street. It was a commitment made by the harbor and we are now living up to that by making this a reality.

“The focus of the Down Street project is about our culture and heritage. Each cabana will be named after one of our beaches. Cultural and heritage organizations will have the opportunity to showcase our guests and locals what we are all about.”

Minister Richardson added to Mingo’s remarks back in February that once the project was completed, it will be a bridge bringing locals and tourists to Down Street where everybody will be able to learn what Sint Maarten is all about.

Harbor Group CEO Mingo is currently off island and was unavailable for comment. The offices of Windward Roads Infrastructure were contacted for Director Jan Hendricks’ comment on the matter, but he too was unavailable.

 

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