Revitalization Requires Total Community Involvement

As president of Downtown Revitalization Inc. [DRI] for the last several years, I have been pleased that DRI has been able to fulfill a role as a facilitator and as a means (with other supporting organizations) to bring information to the community for decision-making and engagement in the revitalization of the Downtown…and I mean the whole Downtown from Frenchtown to Havensight and Estate Thomas and from the historic Harbor to the foothills. In that period of time I have heard many say: “It’s so wonderful that DRI is undertaking revitalization.” But it’s not DRI that will enable and continue the revitalization efforts…it’s each of you as a Community that you live and work in.
You cannot be a member of this Community and stand on the sidelines and talk about revitalization; you have to participate. Revitalization efforts require engagement and participation of all residents of the island…whether those efforts are small or large; and whether you own property in the Downtown Area, rent property, or just admire property sites. And even with this interest, it is recognized that these are trying times in which to push for investment in such efforts.
The organization is at an important point in its development. DRI must stand on its own as a community organization that brings other organizations, businesses and people together with or without public sector; the community must become engaged and move revitalization forward. If we don’t all get engaged to help make the revitalization effort happen…it won’t. The organization seeks to widen its degree of involvement and engagement by the very sectors it is trying to help…including the businesses and churches and schools in the Downtown. The organization needs a broad spectrum of people who have a variety of skills, passion, energy, and can utilize new, modern tools and connections to make things happen. The organization is no longer “mom and pop” type organization.
Revitalization enables the town and the territory to grow.
Revitalization is not just the physical aspects of our town. It is also achieved through celebrations of our history, our culture, our foods, our businesses and our entertainment. This effort is geared to residents first; and it will follow that it helps our tourism product.
How do I participate?
First, you are encouraged to join or renew membership in DRI and participate in the Annual Meeting. Membership is based on contributions; please contribute as much as you can.
The Annual Meeting is scheduled for:
Date: Saturday, May 23, 2015
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Place: Charlotte Amalie High School Auditorium, St. Thomas, VI
There will also be an Informational Forum as part of the program.
Second, you can assist with DRI efforts in a number of ways by signing up for participation or assistance in various committees and action needs.
See you at the Annual Meeting and Informational Forum.
Editor’s note: David A. Bornn is the president of Downtown Revitalization Inc., which was formed to redevelop and improve the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie.

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