Meetings to explore future of Christiansted
Published: March 18, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Residents who want to have a say in planning how Christiansted town will develop and move forward can attend a series of meetings beginning tonight.
The Enterprise Zone Commission, part of the V.I. Economic Development Authority, will conduct a charrette this week aimed at getting ideas and input from the public on a town plan for Christiansted.
A town plan encompasses ideas about how residents would like to see the town develop, including the types of businesses they want and what kind of community they want, said Enterprise Zone specialist Cusa Holloway. Town plans can include plans for the physical and social development of a town, and deal with issues such as zoning and infrastructure.
"The plan, which will provide a road map for the economic, social and architectural development of Christiansted, should reflect the vision of the community," a release from the Economic Development Authority states.
The charrette includes meetings each evening, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today through Thursday, at St. Mary's Catholic School auditorium on Queen Street in Christiansted.
"At the charrette, the general public and panelists who specialize in various subjects that affect community and area development will come together to share their ideas, opinions, recommendations and possible solutions to the problems that exist in Christiansted," the release said.
Each meeting will focus on a specific topic that will be addressed in a town plan.
- Tonight - Historical and cultural aspects of the town.
- Tuesday - Social issues and housing.
- Wednesday - Environmental impacts.
- Thursday - Economic development.
The Enterprise Zone Commission is hosting the charrette, and some local architects and planners are competing in a contest to develop the town plan, Holloway said.
"We solicited architects and planners to come help create a town plan for Christiansted, but it's going to be in a contest form," she said. "No one person has the contract. They will come to the meetings, listen to the community content - the exchange - and will create a town plan for Christiansted."
Each proposal will be submitted to the Economic Development Authority by June 28, and a juried panel will decide on the winner, Holloway said.
Six local architects and planners are interested in the contest at this point, she said.
While the winner gets $5,000, the cash prize isn't the goal, according to Holloway.
"It's more about helping St. Croix than the cash prize for them," she said. "It's about building up Christiansted and getting some answers and solutions to those problems that are plaguing Christiansted."
Christiansted is one of the designated enterprise zones in the territory, along with Savan on St. Thomas and Frederiksted town on St. Croix.
Once a town plan is chosen, it must be approved by the governor.
At that point, Holloway said, "EDC-like" benefits and incentives become attached to the plan under the Enterprise Zone law, "to create an economic push for the historic towns."
The Enterprise Zone Commission has been publicizing the charrette, and has received significant interest, according to Holloway.
"We're hoping that the Christiansted community comes out and lets their voice be heard," she said. "We need to know what you would like in order to create an effective town plan for you."
Charrette Center, Inc., describes a typical charrette as "an intensive, multi-disciplinary week-long design workshop designed to facilitate an open discussion between stakeholders of a development project. A team of design experts meets with community groups, developers and neighbors over a period from 3-4 days to 2 weeks long, gathering information on the issues that face the community. The charrette team then works together to find design solutions that will result in a clear, detailed, realistic vision for future development."
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email email@example.com.