Our Town Frederiksted Interim Director, Alphonso Franklin receives a plaque from Susanna Callwood-Smith, President of Rotary Club of St. Croix West.


Rotary Club of St. Croix West and Our Town Frederiksted believe that working together, along with other community organizations, will provide the best results in efforts to beautify, improve safety and meet other needs of the Frederiksted community.

“We’re hoping that through collaboration, we can make Frederiksted a better place,” said Susanna Callwood-Smith, president of Rotary Club of St. Croix West, on Tuesday.

Alphonso Franklin, interim director of Our Town Frederiksted and a guest speaker Tuesday, offered several ideas to the general public and community leaders gathered at the Rotary West Community Center in Frederiksted. He said paving the roads, upgrading the graveyards and implementing a 24 hour clinic specifically for emergencies would improve the quality of life in Frederiksted.

“I once saw a young man die in the vegetable market at 12:30 in the afternoon,” Franklin said. “I am certain that if they didn’t have to come from Sunny Isle that man would be alive today.”

Franklin suggested that providing emergency medical technician training to firefighters and placing an ambulance in the fire station would better safeguard the health of the Frederiksted community. He said it is absolutely necessary to have first responders within a reasonable distance.

Aside from health concerns, he also proposed that upgrading the graveyard would serve as an economic boost to the town. “There are many graves that are of Danish origin,” Franklin said. “A lot of the tourists come specifically to see those and learn who their ancestors were.”

Every year for Memorial Day weekend, a group of volunteers from Our Town Frederiksted clear the fallen leaves in the graveyard; however, there is more that needs to be done. Franklin said it takes a lot of dedication and energy to volunteer in the community.

“It isn’t complicated, but there are a lot of complicated things that need to be done,” Franklin said. “Hopefully, together with our new senators, when elected, we can talk about projects that we cannot handle on our own such as paving the roads.”

Numerous potholes and uneven paving have been one of the primary causes of vehicle damage in Frederiksted. It is also detrimental to the overall appearance of the town, he said.

“The solution is for us to make sure that the government provides for the needs of the community and it is not going happen unless we get together,” Franklin said.

A few months ago, Franklin said, he was invited by Mid-Island Rotary to talk about the good happening in Frederiksted. And he maintained on Tuesday that there are good things happening.

One of these is the implementation of street signs throughout the town, Franklin said. 
He noted that the Rotary clubs focus on serving and giving back to the community, while Our Town Frederiksted concentrates mostly on the repairs and revitalization of buildings. That’s why, he agreed with Our Town Frederiksted President Hugh Payne and Callwood-Smith, they believe remarkable changes can come about if the two organizations began working together, along with others in the community.

Our Town Frederiksted works to help property owners restore their buildings and, with the help of the Community Development Block Grant, other grants and bank loans, it was able to restore some of them. Unfortunately, Franklin said, because of the dire economic situation of the territory and lack of funding, the organization is not able to do as much as it would like to.

A few years ago there was a program called “Paint and Scrape,” which allowed property owners to have their buildings repainted for 5 percent of the cost. According to Franklin, the results were unbelievable.

“While it cost the government money, it spurred economic activity because people wanted to see the newly painted buildings,” Franklin said.

The program also brought jobs for small contractors and brought people to Frederiksted because of the pleasant atmosphere.

Tuesday’s presentation also touched on the condition of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium, which was condemned years ago due to its hazardous condition. Franklin called the decrepit stadium an “eyesore” and said that rebuilding it would provide the youth of Frederiksted “a positive outlet.”

In regards to the general public and community leaders in attendance, Franklin said their purpose was not to enlist membership into any of the organizations, but rather to receive to see how the organizations and the general public can help each other.

“There is a problem in our community,” Franklin said. “The problem is that the organizations and the members of the community do not seem to have the unity, the drive and the passion that others have to do things among ourselves or to get the government to do what it is supposed to do.”

Present at the meeting were Rotary members George Cannon Jr., Lauchland Tonge, James Sealey, Alicia Churaman, Carlyle Branker, Lula Parris, Jennell Bryan and Rupert Ross, along with several guests and Sen. Sammuel Sanes.

For more information about Rotary Club of St. Croix West, contact Callwood-Smith at 227-2850 or call the club at 772-2855. Smith can also be reached by email at principal11whim@yahoo.com.

Visit ourtownfrederiksted.com for more information about the organization or call 772-3550. Our Town Frederiksted can also be reached via email at ourtownfrederiksted@outlook.com.


Source :http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2014/08/07/organizations-hope-collaboration-will-improve-quality-life-freder