During a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 17, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. (D) hailed the reopening of the upgraded Vendors Plaza and a new restroom on St. Thomas as a significant improvement to the visitors’ experience and another major step toward the Bryan-Roach Administration’s initiative to revitalize the territory’s downtown areas.
“A lot of work went into this project, and I am really proud that we have something that is truly emblematic of the greatness of our town and our tourism product,” Governor Bryan said. The Governor also hailed the opening of new public bathrooms across the street from the new Vendors Plaza kiosks. Attached to the new restrooms is a Banco Popular ATM.
“These are two items we’ve had on the books for decades trying to take care of,” Governor Bryan said. The Governor said the upgraded Vendors Plaza is just one of many projects the Bryan-Roach Administration has underway as part of its initiative to revitalize the Territory’s towns while also enhancing the Tourism experience for visitors. “This territory is on the move,” Governor Bryan declared. “We want to make this Territory thrive. We’re on the move, and we’re not going to stop. We’ve got plans and plans and plans for this Waterfront.”
The Governor said there are more improvements coming soon to continue the momentum of beautifying the towns for residents and visitors alike.
“There are just so many other good things that are coming down the pipe. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a downtown revitalization project in each of our downtown plans,” Bryan said. “A downtown revitalization plan that shows that this administration is business-friendly, opening up new opportunities to our local people on Main Street that never had a chance to be there before. A downtown plan that is going to bring residential living back to our towns,” the Governor said. “As busy as you see this is now, 5:30, 6 o’clock at night, it’s a ghost town. We need to bring the tourists out at night.”
The upgraded Vendors Plaza features 16 kiosks in the space where ragged blue tents used to be adjacent to Fort Christian on the St. Thomas Waterfront. The kiosks are constructed to withstand the force of a Category 3 hurricane and are expected to eliminate the many problems that weather conditions caused to the previous flimsy tent structures.
The new kiosks also can be locked and secured, sparing vendors the daily task of taking down their tents and taking their inventories with them each evening, then having to set it all up again the next day. Additionally, the kiosks have electricity for lighting, two openings covered by roller doors on each side, underneath storage drawers, and a 3-foot roof overhang all the way around the kiosks to provide shade.
The plaza was established in the early 1990s to create a centralized selling space for vendors who had been selling their wares in streets and alleys around Charlotte Amalie.