Since St. John Administrator Leona Smith can’t be everywhere, she has enlisted the community to help her work on some of the problems plaguing the island.
Drawing from a list of about 30 residents who signed up to join committees at a June town meeting, Smith created three groups to focus on issues ranging from parking to over-development.
“This is one of the goals that I had originally set for myself as administrator,” said Smith. “I wanted to have residents on board in different committees to continue the collaboration between the private and public sectors and keep the avenues of dialogue open. I want to keep the public involved and they can help keep me updated because I can’t be everywhere and hear everything.”
Transportation and Traffic
The Transportation and Traffic Committee includes representatives from the island’s barge and ferry companies as well as private citizens, Smith explained.
“We’re going to be looking at things like congestion in town and the level of service at the ferry dock,” said the island administrator.
Members of the Planning and Development Committee will work in concert with the yet-to-be-hired city planner, according to Smith.
“This committee will look at construction and zoning issues,” she said. “Members will sit down with the city planner and share issues and concerns about development and our zoning map.”
“As soon as the governor finalizes the selection of a city planner — which is in process right now — we’ll have a planner on board and the development committee will work with that person,” said Smith.
The Youth Committee will focus on all things which affect the younger generations on St. John, Smith explained.
Youth and Education
“This group will reach out to the youth and see what services are available to them, what kinds of after school activities and recreation and so forth, and try to fill in the gaps,” said the island administrator. “The Youth Committee will also focus on education issues and suggest ways to improve activities we offer the children.”
The committees, which consist of between five and 10 members each — met for the first time last week and are in the process of appointing chairpersons and subcommittees, Smith added.
“As soon as we have the chairpersons assigned, then we’ll set up regular meetings and I’ll offer my office as a meeting space,” she said.
Smith expects the committees to more effectively address the public’s concerns.
“I think we’re moving in a really good direction,” said the St. John Administrator. “These committees will help us set goals and priorities. We will be listening to their input and I will get the governor to come over and meet with these groups as well other island groups.”