Ground-breaking ceremony for 1st phase of Airport Boulevard project

Ground-breaking ceremony for 1st phase of Airport Boulevard project

Alida Francis in a backhoe bringing down the shovel.

ST. EUSTATIUS--A ground-breaking ceremony was held for the first phase of the Airport Boulevard project on Monday, October 3.
This project signified yet another major infrastructural project that was launched on St. Eustatius. The project is aimed at uplifting the environment surrounding the F.D. Roosevelt Airport.

Mistress of Ceremonies was Teena Lopes and her team from the Government Information Service.
The project entails the reconstruction of the roads and construction of a roundabout, parking areas and a passenger drop-off area at the front of the airport, called the “kiss and go” area. The cost of this phase of the project is US $4.9 million.
The Airport Boulevard project is one of several infrastructure projects financed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in the Netherlands. The contractor for the project is Statia Roads and Construction. The project is expected to be completed in a 13-month time period.
Present at the ceremony were Government Commissioner Alida Francis, Deputy Government Commissioner Claudia Toet, Island Council Member Adelka Spanner, Director of Directorate of Economy, Nature and Infrastructure ENI Anthony Reid and team, Commercial Manager of Transport Vishal Oedjaghir, a representative of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in the Netherlands, and Project Manager of Statia Roads Paul Djasmin David and his team.
Also present were Inspector of Police, Chief of Basic Police Care St. Eustatius, Robelto Hodge, David Ignacio and Elvin Henriques from the Programme Project Management Office (PPMO) and purchasing advisor Irvin Buitenman along with a wide range of civil servants, invited guests and members of the public.
Government Commissioner Francis spoke at the ceremony, saying, “Today is a continuation of the evolution of a process that began 76 years ago, back in 1946, for the start of the construction of a modern airport.”
Sixty-two years ago, improvements were made to the runway and the airport building, along with the construction of a paved road to Oranjestad, which was built in 1960. It was not until 1971 that the paved public road to the airport that passed through the former Golden Rock Plantation was constructed.
“More than half a century later, here we are about to begin the first phase of the further development of our airport, along with the roads and infrastructure,” said Francis. “We are sensitive to the fact that this project is being undertaken in the St. Eustatius cultural plan, which has a significant cultural heritage value and is susceptible to development – such as this project.”
To avoid mistakes of the past, the Statia government held a town hall meeting to share their vision with Statians and to get their feedback. Francis thanked everyone who turned out, who participated and gave their input.
“This project will uplift the airport environment,” Francis said. “In addition, we recently unveiled the project board for construction of the new and modern Gwendoline van Putten School, we’ve begun to strengthen the coastline at Lower Town, and work on the road Behind the Mountain is underway.”
“Slowly but surely, inch by inch, we are building a more appealing, environmentally friendly and accessible Statia for all our residents; we are building for today, tomorrow and the future.”
Francis said that “it’s up to each and every one of us to join heads, hearts and hands towards building, protecting and preserving a more all-embracing Statia that we all can enjoy.”
She also extended her thanks to the Directorate of ENI, Transport and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Francis explained that she knew that there would be some discomfort for the neighbours near the project, but asked for everyone’s understanding and patience.
Other speakers included Reid and Henriquez, who both spoke briefly about the project and gave thanks to stakeholders.
The construction of a new passenger terminal and the Air Traffic Control Tower was completed in 2021.

The Daily Herald

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