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USVI Community Pulse

Revitalization of Charlotte Amalie’s Educators Park: A Community Endeavor

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Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, is witnessing a significant revitalization of its cherished Educators Park. This project, initiated last week, involves the meticulous restoration of bronze monuments that celebrate the Virgin Islands’ most esteemed educators and activists. These cultural treasures are being revived under the skilled hands of Ward Tomlinson Elicker, a sculptor with a rich history in public art within the territory.

The initiative is orchestrated by the Virgin Islands Museum, Civic and Cultural Center Inc. (VIMCCC). Alda Monsanto, a local resident alarmed by the monuments’ deterioration, sparked this restoration. Her concerns, brought to VIMCCC chair and former senator Myron Jackson, led to a successful fundraising effort. This campaign, rallying the support of local businesses and civic groups, raised over $13,000, marking the commencement of the project’s second phase.

Elicker’s involvement highlights the project’s dedication to preserving the local heritage with the highest standards. The first phase, already complete, focused on enhancing the park’s surrounding area. This phase was led by the proprietors of the neighboring historic Joe’s Tavern, emphasizing the community’s investment in the park’s renewal.

Educators Park, as VIMCCC emphasizes, is a symbol of the socio-political and cultural journey of the Virgin Islands. Established by a committee of educators, journalists, and activists, including Ariel Melchoir and Ruth Moolenaar, the park honors figures like Jose Antonio Jarvis, Edith Williams, and Rothschild Francis. The statues, masterpieces of José Buscaglia Guillermety, a celebrated Puerto Rican sculptor, enrich the park’s cultural significance.

VIMCCC gratefully acknowledges the community’s contributions to this restoration. Special thanks are extended to Alda Monsanto for her advocacy, the VIMCCC Board of Directors, the Rotary Club of St. Thomas, Merchants Commercial Bank for financial support, and the conservation experts Tom Elicker and Joel Asker. Acknowledgements also go to Sean Krigger and the Office of Historic Preservation, Lab 4 Development, White Bay Group, Justin Wheatley and his team for on-site support, along with Jim Crites, Val Collens of the Project Team, Lyle Batiste, and all other supporters for their crucial role in this vital community project.

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USVI Community Pulse

New Parking Fee at Fort Christianvaern Starting Dec. 11

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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

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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

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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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