Sen. Payne Says St. John Community Center Has Not Lost Funding

Senator-at-Large Steven D. Payne Sr. (photo by Barry Leerdam and Alvin Burke, V.I. Legislature)

Although media outlets recently reported that the St. John Community Center lost funding regarding the plans to rebuild it, Senator-at-Large Steven D. Payne Sr. looked into the issue and informs the community that that narrative is not accurate. “I have it on good word from multiple government agencies that the funds for reconstruction are not lost,” Payne said in response to the lost funding allegations.

The Office of Disaster and Recovery, the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation (DSPR), and the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) are all collaborating to ensure this rebuilding becomes a reality. Currently the community center project is out to bid for an architectural and engineering firm to design this facility with Hazard Mitigation Grant Funds.

DSPR has identified several other non-recovery funding sources to facilitate the reconstruction of a larger, more resilient facility that will also be used as a shelter in case of a pending storm.

In addition, VIFHA has agreed to reallocate funds previously awarded in 2019 for this project from a Community Development Block Grant that is being reprogrammed with the promise of it being restored once the project is shovel ready.

“As a resident of St. John, senator-at-large for the territory and vice chair of the Committee on Sports, Parks, and Recreation for the 34th Legislature, I understand the importance of this project for the Love City community and see it as a tremendous opportunity for us to rebound from hurricanes Irma [and] Maria, and the toll COVID-19 has waged on our people. As your representative, I look forward to making sure this project continues to receive the attention it deserves until it is completed.”