September was a notable month for recovery projects in the territory. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, through its Public Assistance Program, approved 48 obligations for $83.1 million. These obligations will help strengthen community lifelines, such as health and medical, energy and safety and security, as the territory recovers from hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The health and medical lifelines were obligated $25 million for projects to include the completion of the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital temporary facility in Christiansted.
At least $15.5 million was awarded to fortify the energy lifeline for the territory’s electrical grid. Projects include reimbursement for emergency electrical distribution repairs on St. Thomas and St. Croix, as well as repairs to the Donald C. Francois and Tutu power substations on St. Thomas and St. John.
“The recovery is moving. Having access to these funds is necessary for the territory to begin work on many of these facilities that are lying in disrepair,” said Adrienne Williams-Octalien, director of the Office of Disaster Recovery. “Our office works closely with FEMA and local recipients to move critical projects like these forward and ultimately ensure that federal dollars are spent correctly.”
Over $10 million was obligated to reimburse the V.I. Police Department for emergency protective measures, for costs such as crowd control and search and rescue after the 2017 hurricanes.
“September’s accomplishments by our public assistance team represents substantial progress in supporting the territory’s plans to strengthen its community lifelines. We will continue to work tirelessly to achieve the reconstruction of a stronger Virgin Islands,” said Bill Vogel, federal coordinating officer.
More than $18 million was obligated for repairs to public buildings. Projects include replacement of the Alva A. Swan Correctional Annex Building on St. Thomas, as well as repairs to the Governor’s Office in Christiansted and Arthur Abel Complex in Frederiksted.
V.I. Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation was obligated $11.8 million for projects including repairs to Randal Doc James Racetrack and Vincent Mason Coral Resort Park and Pool on St. Croix, and repairs to the Pavilion/Town Center facility on Water Island.
More than $947,000 was obligated for housing, which includes permanent repairs to the George Simmons Terrace Community Center on St. John.
FEMA’s Public Assistance team will continue to formulate recovery projects in collaboration with the territory to better withstand disasters and operate continuously.