January 21, 2021
U.S. Virgin Islands – Collaboration between the Territory and FEMA’s Public Assistance team led to the approval of $25.8 million in December to support recovery from the 2017 hurricanes. The grant awards were for management costs and recovery projects that will strengthen and restore health care facilities, historical buildings and roads.
A total of 23 projects were approved for the repairs to sites damaged from Irma and Maria in September 2017 and to manage Public Assistance (PA) projects.
“The approval of these projects will soon enable more visible evidence of the necessary recovery work from the disastrous hurricanes of 2017. The FEMA staff, many of them Virgin Islanders, are proud to partner with the USVI Office of Disaster Recovery in achieving these important steps to a recovered and resilient Virgin Islands,” said Acting Recovery Director John Covell.
FEMA’s Public Buildings Group obligated $23.4 million for 13 recovery projects to include:
• Restoration of the Old Brugal Rum Distillery in Frederiksted for a federal cost share of $2.7 million. The V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources will oversee the restoration of the storage and office buildings built in 1845, the library building built in 1909 and the factory building built in 1950. Repairs will also be made to the well pump building.
FEMA’s Transportation Group obligated $735,982 toward the restoration of Catherineberg on St. Thomas:
• Catherineberg was previously the governor’s residence and then used for government events until the mansion was damaged during the 2017 hurricanes. The two-story mansion was built in 1830 and was renovated in 1955 and 2000. The West Indian Company Ltd. will administer repairs to the historical building on Denmark Hill in Charlotte Amalie.
FEMA’s Health Group awarded $777,808 for three projects. Projects include:
• The addition of radiology space into the temporary hospital project at Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix at a federal cost-share of $649,298.
• Replacement of the roof along with exterior and interior repairs for the V.I. Resource Center for the Disabled, Inc. building on St. Thomas at a federal cost-share of $470,756. The two-story building in Charlotte Amalie’s historic district was built around 1886.
FEMA’s Housing Group obligated $379,647 for three projects. Projects include:
• Repairs to dirt roads in Estate Nazareth on St. Thomas for the V.I. Housing Finance Authority to manage the restoration of the roads back to pre-disaster condition per V.I. Department of Public Works standards at a federal cost-share of $211,300. Maria’s rains led to erosion that washed out the roads.
FEMA’s Education Group approved $560,297 for the restoration of hurricane-damaged facilities.
“These obligations are a result of the collaborative work that takes place behind the scenes,” said Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery. “We will begin to see more projects start construction this year to rebuild the Territory’s public buildings and infrastructure.”
Recipients of PA are responsible for managing the funds obligated to them by FEMA, including disbursement to applicants. FEMA will continue to monitor the recovery progress to ensure the timely delivery of eligible assistance and compliance with federal laws and regulations.
FEMA will continue to support the USVI with strengthening its resilience to better withstand disasters.