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FEMA Gives $705,000 To Restore Enid Baa Library

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Office of Disaster Recovery announces the obligation of $705,527 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources to complete repairs and replace damaged contents at the Enid M. Baa Public Library and Archives on St. Thomas.

The three-story building, distinguished by its yellow brick exterior is located on Dronningens Gade in Charlotte Amalie. Prior to the opening of the Charles W. Turnbull Library, this facility was the main public library on the island of St. Thomas.

During the 2017 hurricanes, the library and its contents were damaged when hurricane-force winds and wind-driven rain leaked from the first floor to the second and third-floor levels. The obligation covers roof and interior and exterior repairs to the Children’s, IT, and Archive rooms in addition to several other spaces on site.

“We are very pleased to have completed the process and received this award,” stated Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. “This funding is crucial as we look to reopen this landmark facility and bring new interest to the western end of Main Street.”

Boschulte Architecture has begun the necessary design work for the project and anticipates completion by October 2021. A construction solicitation will be issued in November to secure a contract to start repairs by March 2022 and finish by November 2022.

“So far, $5.7 million of FEMA Public Assistance funding has been obligated to DPNR for the restoration of public libraries across Territory,” said Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien. “The Office of Disaster Recovery thanks FEMA for this award and looks forward to the completion of all of the Territory’s libraries by January 2023.”  

To preserve and replenish historical documents and other literature, materials will either be stabilized, restored or replaced utilizing funds from the obligation.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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