July 28, 2005- Getting on board with efforts to revitalize St. Croix, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation on Tuesday to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of establishing National Heritage areas throughout the island.
"I can think of no more fitting place that should be studied for possible designation as a National Heritage Area than my home island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands," Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen said.
According to a recent press release, Christensen pitched the island to national representatives by playing up its cultural and historical achievements. "The island of St. Croix has a long, distinguished and varied history, including being the site where Christopher Columbus first stepped onto what is now American soil," the delegate said.
Christensen added that there is a significant interest in preserving the islands natural resources, and a feasibility study would be the best way to determine — with the cooperation of the federal government — how to do so. The study has been on Christensens national agenda since early June, when she discussed the idea at the annual Board of Realtors Meeting in St. Thomas.
"We would be eligible for economic development monies if we are accepted [for the establishment of a National Heritage Area]," Christensen said to realtors. "That could greatly benefit St. Croix."
National Heritage Areas consist mainly of private properties which reflect the culture and history of the people for which they are established, the release said. In order to manage these areas, a partnership will be formed between federal and local governments, as well as various nonprofit organizations. This "management entity" will be recognized by Congress, and will work to organize conservation and other activities within the heritage areas.
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