Downtown Revitalization, Inc. (DRI) along with its community partners: The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI), the VI Department of Planning and Natural Resources and the VI Public Works Department have been working for the last year gathering information from Virgin Islands stakeholders about what residents expect will help revitalize Charlotte Amalie. CFVI’s involvement has been supported by funds from the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust.
As part of the effort to help people visualize the changes and improvements they want incorporated into the project and adhere to modern building requirements, CFVI contracted the design team of Dover Kohl & Partners who are experts intown planning.
The design team was instructed to design a pilot project that would test and demonstrate a new concept known as “Form-Based Code” (FBC) in Charlotte Amalie. According to the document produced by the team, Form Based Code concept is “intended to encourage, preserve, and restore high-quality public spaces, with a primary emphasis on the physical form of the build environment. Form-based codes prescribe key physical details that define a community’s character.”
Clearly the group is working to keep the best parts of Charlotte Amalie’s downtown area prominent for future generations with the goal of using FBC as a springboard for the renovation of other historic VI communities.
Dover Kohl’s work has culminated in what is being called The Town’s Blueprint – A Vision and Code for Historic Charlotte Amalie. View the full report.
From a historical perspective, Charlotte Amalie has been a Mecca for travelers for a very long, long time. In the 1700 and 1800 its brick and stone buildings served as warehouses for trading ships that traveled the Caribbean. The old Danish warehouses were later transformed into shops, offices and other municipal structures.
In the mid 1960’s the VI became a premier tourism destination as cruise ships began transporting travelers who wished to get away from the winter cold to the islands. Today, Charlotte Amalie’s Main Street’s draws millions of visitors each year who hope to take advantage of the VI’s duty free shopping.
Virgin Islanders want to hold on to the heritage and natural beauty that can be found in Charlotte Amalie, but they also want to breathe new life into an area that has been neglected for a very long time. The blueprint being offered provides a wonderful blend of function and esthetics that will breathe new life into the area and serve as a blueprint for other VI communities.
AARP VI urges all Virgin Islanders to review this important report and learn more about how downtown Charlotte Amalie will be revitalized in the near future.
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