SAN JUAN – Opposition Popular Democratic Party (PPD) Rep. Angel Matos Garcia presented a plan on Wednesday to redevelop the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, Puerto Rico.
The plan calls for redeveloping the abandoned base “for hybrid civilian and military” activities, without using the entire property for military purposes, Matos Garcia, the PPD’s spokesman on the House of Representatives Tourism Committee, said.
“Time is of the essence and with a strategic project like the former base in Ceiba, you cannot improvise with recycled initiatives that have no immediate future to the point where the supposed proponents deny any link to the present administration,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
Matos Garcia said he asked former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald to consider building a new hospital for veterans living in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean at the site of the old base hospital, providing a long-term care facility for veterans.
The lawmaker also wants to turn part of the property into a shipyard to maintain vessels taken out of service by the Navy.
The Roosevelt Roads site already has a maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) operator for ships that bids on Navy work, Matos Garcia said.
In May 2016, former Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla’s administration said US-based Marine Environmental Remediation Group planned to invest more than $12 million in the old naval station.
The company, which dismantles ships and recovers valuable components in vessels, planned to develop the project over three years and would create 675 jobs, officials said.
Roosevelt Roads was used from 1943 to 2004 by the Navy, generating about $300 million in revenues a year for Puerto Rico.
Between 2006 and 2010, the Navy tried to sell the facilities and was not successful, and it was only in 2012 that the Puerto Rican government decided to buy part of the property.