Governor Albert Bryan recently unveiled a conservator plan to deal with abandoned and derelict properties in the territory. This is part of a wider anti-crime initiative, said Governor Bryan, which also includes “work[ing] with the neighborhoods to increase lighting, put in parking spaces, put sidewalks, put in intranet — the things that will develop the community and make people want to live there.
The conservatorship program would work by assigning an outside individual or entity to rehabilitate a distressed property and in exchange, that individual or entity would keep a portion of the revenue made from the property over the life of the conservatorship, with the homeowner pocketing their share of the profits.
The program is not meant to dispossess property owners, the governor reassured. “This is not some plan to take property away from Virgin Island and Virgin Islanders and local families. But it is one to preserve properties for Virgin Islanders and to revitalize our towns and our communities,” he said. “The conservator is taking control of the property; the title and the legal ownership of the property would remain with the family, individual organization, whatever it was before. The original owner would retain all the legal rights to that property.”
Board members of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce met with the Governor the past summer to discuss the bill.