Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett (USVI), released the following statement regarding two grants totaling $7 million for the U.S. Virgin Islands:
“Today the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a $5,970,221.28 million grant to the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority — St. Croix for Emergency Protective Measures. FEMA’s Public Assistance Program funds eligible emergency protective measures taken by a community before, during, and after a disaster to eliminate or reduce an immediate threat to life, public health or safety or significant damage to improved public or private property. While the list of eligible activities includes actions that do not affect the environment (such as the provision of food and water), there are several that do have the potential to adversely affect natural, historic, and/or archaeological resources.
“Hurricane Maria caused widespread power outages and fuel shortages throughout the Virgin Islands and St. Croix. This created an immediate threat to the health and safety of the general public. As a result, the Virgin Islands’ infrastructure systems sustained severe damage leaving most of the public without power and potable water as provided by WAPA. In response to the event, WAPA used force account labor and contract labor to provide emergency manpower, equipment, materials, housing and food to perform emergency repairs of transmission and distribution lines island-wide. This grant will go towards material costs and contract costs.
“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a grant of $1,003,946.86 to the VI Department of Sports, Park and Recreation (DSP&R), St. Thomas, for permanent repairs to the Lionel Smut Richards Ballpark. Hurricane Maria brought hurricane-force winds, wind-driven rain and wind-driven debris, causing damages to the Lionel Smut Ballpark, which includes a baseball and soccer field, basketball court, a batting cage, concession stand and bathrooms building, bleachers, two dugouts and grounds. The DSP&R will utilize contract labor to restore the facility back to its pre-disaster design, function and capacity.
“These grants will benefit the Virgin Islands tremendously with our rebuilding efforts. The United States government and the international community have an obligation to help in the re-establishment of our islands. These grant awards will serve as a vital component of that concern.”