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May 23, 2005

All of Water Island is now officially part of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

From the Daily News:

Gov. Charles Turnbull executed the quitclaim deed for the territory to purchase the final 200 acres of the island owned by the U.S. Interior Department for $10 on Monday, St. Thomas-Water Island Administrator James O'Bryan Jr. said. On Wednesday, the document was officially recorded in the Tax Assessor's Office, solidifying the transfer.

"This is a proud and historic day for the people of the Virgin Islands as we have now taken full ownership of the fourth largest island which comprises the Virgin Islands," Turnbull said in a written statement issued Friday.

Water Island, at 500 acres, is the fourth-largest island in the territory and is located south of the Sub Base area. For years, the federal government leased land on the island to people who developed it over the years. Since the early 1990s, those tenants began purchasing the leased properties - 250 acres in all - directly from the Department of the Interior. Jurisdiction over the land purchased by those owners transferred to the territory when they were sold, and the territory has been receiving property taxes from those lands for several years.

In 1996, the transfer of remaining federal land on Water Island began with 50 acres - most of the island's roads, beaches and other public areas - switching hands from the Interior Department to the territory. The intent was always to eventually transfer all of the government-owned property to the territory, O'Bryan said.

Click here for the whole article.

Posted by afinta at May 23, 2005 04:41 PM


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