Charlotte Amalie revitalization effort receives boost


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ST. THOMAS - Efforts to beautify the waterfront and historic downtown of St. Thomas received a hefty boost from two generous donors this week.

The St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Revitalization, Inc., and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands announced two major gifts totalling $150,000 in support of downtown Charlotte Amalie's revitalization - the main focus of Downtown Revitalization, Inc., and one of the goals of both the Chamber and the community foundation.

In response to a request, the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust contributed $100,000 to fund revitalization efforts, which eventually will be carried out by the V.I. Department of Public Works, a partner in the ongoing project. Additionally, International Capital and Management Company contributed $50,000 to the project.

"The revitalization of the downtown historic district is a wonderful attempt to upgrade and preserve one of the most valuable group of assets that were bequeathed to us from past generations," said Cornel Williams, president of International Capital and Management Company.

The donations will go toward the funding of the design, engineering and implementation of Veterans Drive improvements, according to a joint statement from the involved organizations. No further details were given related to how the donations would be spent.

The effort started to take shape in 2010 and 2011 when the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust initially contributed $400,000 to the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands so that it could collaborate with the territorial government to generate a plan, known as the "The Town's Blueprint," which would reflect what the people would like to see on the waterfront and in the historic downtown.

"It gives me great pleasure to support this important civic vision for St. Thomas' waterfront and historic downtown. This beautification effort, like my past support of Roosevelt Park, will enhance St. Thomas' sense of place and will, I hope, stimulate other such initiatives," said Richard H. Driehaus.

Two years later, the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Revitalization, Inc., entered into a memorandum Of understanding with the territorial government, through the Public Works Department.

DRI and the Chamber retained The Town's blueprint planners, Dover, Kohl & Partners, to provide assistance with the continued refinement and subsequent implementation of concepts contained in The Town's Blueprint.

They also partnered with Jaredian Design Group and PB Americas in the planning and design for Veterans Drive improvements. Community workshops sponsored by DPW, Chamber and DRI and led by this collective design team were conducted in July and November 2013 to review updated plans and ideas and to receive community input.

In this position, the groups also have received donations from International Capital Management and Company, Innovative Companies, TOPA Equities, Auven Therapeutics, Lexington Management, First Bank, Diamonds International, Little Switzerland, India Association, Lockhart Caribbean Corporation and Thatch Cay.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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