Construction contract for Vieques CDT signed; town to operate Sun Bay beach
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced he has signed the contract between Caribe Tecno, the municipality of Vieques and the Infrastructure Financing Authority (AFI) to build the island municipality’s new Diagnostic and Treatment Center (CDT, in Spanish) in three phases with an associated cost of $85.6 million.
He also announced that the municipality will manage the Sun Bay public beach for up to 15 years and that as part of an agreement with the Department of Agriculture, the Agri-Cultura Mercado concept will be developed to market fresh and locally produced goods to promote agricultural production and economic activity in Vieques.
Last year, Pierluisi was in Vieques to mark the start of the demolition of the former Susana Centeno CDT, which suffered substantial damage after the onslaught of hurricanes Irma and María.
The new facilities will span about 60,000 square feet and will have a Green Building certification. The medical facility will have a dialysis center, emergency room, imaging area, laboratories, pharmacy, dental and social services, infusion, administrative offices, external clinics, and a helipad. It will also have an electric generator, cistern, and a new parking area.
The project received a first advance through the Working Capital Advance (WCA) program of $10.8 million, said Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3) Executive Director Manuel Laboy.
“We will continue to monitor their development and offer them the necessary technical support, as well as financial support, since they could eventually request an additional 25% through the WCA,” he said.
Sun Bay transferred to Vieques
Meanwhile, the Sun Bay public beach is being transferred to the Vieques municipal government through a collaborative agreement with the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER, in Spanish).
During the 15-year term, the municipality will be responsible for the facility’s administrative and maintenance operations. The town will also run the offices, security, parking, current concessionaires, camping areas and any other facilities located on the premises.
The municipality’s new responsibilities should follow the DNER’s public policy, which includes keeping the areas clean and painted, free of garbage, including vegetative material, and maintaining a preventive maintenance plan. The agreement was authorized by the National Park Service and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, DNER Secretary Anaís Rodríguez-Vega said.
A few weeks ago, the governor announced the signing of a similar agreement between the DNER and the municipality of Fajardo for town to oversee the Seven Seas public beach for 15 years.
Agri-Cultura Mercado concept takes shape
Finally, government officials confirmed an agreement through which the municipality of Vieques received $119,924 to purchase equipment to remodel the former José Gautier Benítez School into a concept that will include a grocery store and a coffee shop, to be known as the Agri-Cultura Mercado.
Agriculture Secretary Ramón González said with the effort, “We gain greater accessibility to local products for the benefit of Puerto Rican families, and, above all, we get closer to our goal of promoting local consumption to boost agricultural economic activity.”
“In a matter of a few months we will have a first-class market. Viequenses can be sure that they will have fresh products, 100% harvested and proudced on our land by Puerto Rican farmers,” he said.
The market will be open seven days a week.