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Local Nonprofit Looks to Give Frederiksted a Sense of Direction

Harriet Williams of Helping Children Work testifying to the V.I. Legislature.The town of Frederiksted will be getting new street signs in Danish and English, thanks to Our Town Frederiksted, with the help of federal Community Development Block Grants, OTF President Alphonso Franklin said Wednesday to the V.I. Legislature.
The Legislature was meeting in Frederiksted as a committee of the whole Wednesday to discuss this year’s package of CDBG projects, many of which serve more pressing community needs than street signs, ranging from homeless services to after-school homework help. But few will be more visible to the general public and visitors than the street signs.
"I personally took a tour of the streets of Frederiksted and lo and behold, the only signs I found were on King Street and even then only on a few blocks," Franklin told the Legislature. While there were once more signs, they were placed upon the walls of private buildings at street corners and over time … many are now gone, he said.
OTF was one of a dozen St. Croix non-profit organizations tapped to receive a portion of about $1.9 million in CDBG funds awarded to the territory this year.
Various nonprofit groups submitted 45 applications requesting a combined total of $4.3 million to the V.I. Housing Finance Authority for consideration, according to VIHFA Chief Financial Officer Julio Rhymer. Of those, there was one application for St. John, 19 for St. Thomas and 25 for St. Croix. The VIHFA’s CDBG division staff selected 20 projects, with the money split evenly between the territory’s two districts. While the funding is evenly split, 12 projects are on St. Croix and eight in the St. Thomas/St. John district. Hearings to discuss St. Thomas grants will be held at a later date.
The CDBG program is supervised nationally by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which distributes CDBG funds to the states and territories. With HUD approval, local governments select projects and recipients from among qualified local nonprofit organizations. The CDBG money is spread about an array of non-profit organizations and projects. The V.I. Housing Finance Authority manages the CDBG program within the territory and $376,000 of the CDBG money is set aside to the VIHFA for administrative costs.
Below are the individual regular CDBG grants for this year.
St. Croix:
– $307,000 to Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands to construct a two-story building with eight to 10 transitional units for single individuals at risk of becoming homeless;
– $95,000 to Armapavie Sports Plus Club to put in two new aluminum bleachers and a portable chain-link fence at the Basilio Felix Baseball Park in Estate Castle Coakley;
– $75,000 to The Women’s Coalition of St. Croix to complete the parking area of their new offices in Christiansted;
– $73,000 to the Caribbean Museum Center Rehabilitation Center to install a solar light system and renovate the kitchen at the museum;
– $65,000 to Helping Children Work, to complete the parking lot at its training center, currently under construction;
– $35,000 to Holy Ghost Deliverance After-School Program in Estate Barren Spot;
– $23,000 to Helping Children Work for its after school program in Estate Grove Place;
– $30,000 to Our Town Frederiksted for street signs in Danish and English;
– $15,000 to the Women with Focus nutritional education program for an after school program that teaches and promotes healthy living to children age 6-14;
– $15,000 to St. Paul’s Episcopal Youth Steel Orchestra Program;
–$11,000 to The Garden School Reading Enhancement Program’s after school and summer reading programs;
– $8,000 to Eagle’s Nest Men’s Temporary Shelter to provide counseling and job search training for men recovering from alcohol and substance abuse.

St. Thomas:
–$338,000 to the V.I. Department of Agriculture to continue construction of the Bordeaux Farmers Market;
– $250,000 to the Methodist Training and Outreach Center for renovation of #4A Kronprindsens Gade for a central outreach center for supportive services for the homeless;
– $64,000 to Frenchtown Community Center to rehabilitate the center;
– $30,000 to Wesley Methodist Church, St. Thomas-St. John Circuit for an after school program;
– $25,000 to St. Andrews Seek and Serve to run an after school program;
– $10,000 to Jr. Fire Fighters for an after school homework assistance program and Saturday mentoring;
– $10,000 the Savan Boys Club to teach sports, dance, culture, piano instruction and culinary arts.

St. John:
– $25,000 to Love City Pan Dragons Youth Steel Orchestra.

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