St. John Tradewinds News

Oppenheimer Beach Closed for Construction; DSPR Commissioner Asks Public’s Cooperation

Pictured above: A posted sign at the gate of Oppenheimer Beach let’s  visitors know about construction work in progress. Photo provided by Judi Shimel.

NORTH SHORE — The head of the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation is asking the public to observe restrictions on the use of Oppenheimer Beach. DSPR Commissioner Pedro Cruz said the restrictions are designed to allow for renovations on the property which began Jan. 6.

In a statement released late last week, Cruz announced the beach was closed to the public.

The work at Oppenheimer Beach, located in Estate Dennis Bay, was described in a presentation made to the 31st Legislature Committee on Finance several months ago.

“After months of planning, renovation to the Oppenheimer Beach Facility began on January 6, 2017. This project is part of the Department of Sports, Parks, and Recreation’s plan to revitalize its facilities territory wide,” Cruz said in a statement issued Jan. 24.

The specifics are contained in project specifications available to registered users on the Property and Procurement website. In bid documents from the Department of Property and Procurement the project called for construction.

Estimated costs were set at $50,000. Funding for the work may come from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Land, Water and Conservation Fund.

The commissioner asked for the public’s cooperation until renovations are completed.

The historic Oppenheimer House was once owned by Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, developer of the atomic bomb. His daughter donated the beach house and property to the VI government in the 1980s.

The construction project is one of four slated for St. John by DSPR. Electrical work has already been done at Winston Wells Ball Park in Cruz Bay. Electrical wiring, outlets and lamp fixtures were installed. Repairs to the gate at Wells Ball Park were completed as well.

Modest improvements are planned for the Orville Brown Basketball Court in Pine Peace.

Cruz told lawmakers that DSPR also wants to reconstruct the agency’s office and recreation center near the Cruz Bay traffic circle.