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USVI Community Pulse

DPNR Unveils Forward-Thinking Land Use Drafts at Forthcoming Town Halls



The Virgin Islands’ Department of Planning & Natural Resources (DPNR) is poised to make a significant move in soliciting public insights on the prospective land and water utilization across the archipelago.

DPNR Commissioner, Jean-Pierre L. Oriol, has divulged a string of imminent Town Hall assemblies aimed at revealing 2-dimensional drafts portraying a hint of potential forthcoming developments across the islands.

“Back in July, communal contributions aided us in establishing policies concerning our land’s development and preservation through the Comprehensive Plan,” elucidated Mr. Oriol. “We morphed those policies into 2-dimensional drafts depicting how transformations could manifest in prominent locales on each island. Come November, our third town hall is scheduled, where visual depictions embodying mixed-use development, eco-friendly infrastructure, and enhanced pedestrian-friendliness will be showcased. It’s imperative to note, these are not development proposals, but illustrations portraying the possibilities these policies could unfold. We’re extending an invitation to the community to examine these drafts and share their reflections.”

The populace is warmly invited to partake in the Town Halls to scrutinize the drafts spotlighting distinguished areas:

  • St. Croix: Sunny Isles & Five Corners
  • St. Thomas: Tutu Park Mall & Emile Milo Francis Memorial Drive (Smith Bay)
  • St. John: Coral Bay & Centerline Road (Susannaberg)

Each assembly will encompass a thorough exposition of the drafts, succeeded by a Q&A segment and engaging dialogues. The DPNR personnel and consultants will be present to address inquiries and steer the discussions.

Here’s the agenda for the Town Hall sessions:

  • St. Croix: Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at UVI Great Hall, 5:30-7:30 PM
  • St. Thomas: Thursday, November 9, 2023, at Columban Hall, Holy Family Church, 5:30-7:30 PM
  • St. John: Monday, November 13, 2023, at the Sprung Structure in Coral Bay (beside the Fire Station), 5:30-7:30 PM

DPNR envisions these assemblies as a medium for vibrant community involvement, with all materials and feedback being integrated into the planning blueprint. Attendees will also be treated to light refreshments.

For those who can’t make it in person, the visualizations and materials will be available online at The website also features recordings and summaries of past Town Halls, besides offering a channel for the community to remain updated and engaged through the email list.

Ahead of the meetings, and to nurture a collective planning endeavor, DPNR is beckoning the community to review the proposed drafts and communicate their perspectives on the envisioned evolutions.

For more details, explore the project’s website at or follow the Facebook page at Planusvi.

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USVI Community Pulse

New Parking Fee at Fort Christianvaern Starting Dec. 11



Beginning December 11, visitors to Fort Christiansvaern in Christiansted, St. Croix, will need to pay a $10 daily parking fee, as announced by the National Park Service (NPS). This new automated payment system, located at the parking lot’s entrance, will facilitate payments exclusively via debit and credit cards, as cash transactions will not be available.

The NPS has implemented this fee to generate additional revenue, aimed at enhancing the overall experience for visitors. The funds collected will be strategically invested in improving the park’s facilities and infrastructure, contributing to a more enjoyable and well-maintained environment for all guests.

Parking will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. To ensure the safety and proper use of the parking lot, vehicles left after 5:00 p.m. may be towed at the owner’s expense, emphasizing the importance of adhering to the stipulated hours.

The NPS encourages the continued use of the parking lot at the Christiansted Historical site, highlighting its safety and convenience for both town and park visitors. They anticipate positive public cooperation with these changes.

For further inquiries or to address any concerns, individuals can contact Chief Ranger Gabriel Laurencin at [email protected] or call 340-773-1460 for assistance.

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USVI Community Pulse

St. Croix Prepares for Dazzling Christmas Boat Parade with Parking and Traffic Regulations



The picturesque island of St. Croix is abuzz with excitement as it gears up for the much-anticipated annual Christmas Boat Parade on Saturday, December 9. This festive highlight draws crowds to Christiansted’s scenic boardwalk, prompting the V.I. Police Department to enforce specific parking restrictions and road closures for a seamless event experience.

Key measures implemented by the VIPD in preparation for the parade, a cornerstone of St. Croix’s holiday celebrations, include:

  • A parking ban on Queen Cross Street, from Riddims to the Caravelle Casino, effective 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight). This measure is essential for vendor setup and smooth parade preparations.
  • King Street will also be subject to a no-parking policy from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight). This restriction encompasses the stretch from Florence Williams Library to Government House and includes the vicinity from Strand Lane (Purple Papaya) to King Street.

To ensure public safety and efficient traffic management, roadblocks will be in place at the intersection of King Street and King Cross Street (near the Library), commencing at 11:00 a.m. and lasting until midnight. Access during this time will be limited to vendors and officials associated with the Boat Parade Committee.

The Christmas Boat Parade is an iconic tradition in St. Croix, attracting thousands to the Christiansted boardwalk for a magical evening. The event is renowned for its display of intricately decorated boats, illuminating the night with festive lights, culminating in a stunning fireworks show.

The VIPD extends its gratitude to the community for cooperating with these traffic and parking arrangements, emphasizing their commitment to ensuring a safe, enjoyable holiday experience for all attendees.

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USVI Community Pulse

Ford Initiates Major Recall of Over 45,000 Vehicles Due to Door Latch Concerns



Ford Motor Company has begun issuing notices to owners of select models, specifically the 2015 Fiesta, 2016 Fusion, and the 2016 Lincoln MKZ, regarding a critical safety issue identified in these vehicles.

The company disclosed in mid-November the discovery of a defect in the door latches of certain vehicles. The defect involves a latch component that may break, potentially making the door difficult to secure or, in some cases, allowing it to open unexpectedly during travel.

Notably, some of these vehicles are known to have been sold and registered in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In response, Ford dealerships are conducting thorough inspections of the door latches on affected vehicles, with a directive to replace all four side door latches at no cost to the vehicle owner if they find any issues.

Vehicle owners who prefer immediate action rather than waiting for postal notifications can access further information by reaching out to Ford’s customer service at 1-866-436-7332 or contacting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

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