News Release

Volunteer Planning Team to Help Mitigate Hazards in St. Thomas

CHICAGO (September 5, 2019) — An American Planning Association (APA) Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) is coming to St. Thomas, September 9–13, 2019, to help mitigate future hazards posed by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, took back-to-back direct hits from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, which heavily impacted the island. The island is still in recovery mode and sought assistance from the CPAT program to help address the damages caused by the hurricanes along with enhancements that will mitigate future hazards and promote walkability around the Schneider Regional Medical Center. The six-person volunteer planning team will coordinate its efforts with FEMA representatives, USVI government agencies, and community stakeholders.

Community input is integral to the planning process:

  • Tuesday, September 15, 6–7:30 p.m. — Residents, business owners, elected officials, city staff, and other interested parties are invited to meet the team and participate in a public workshop to provide local knowledge on flooding, walkability and mobility, connectivity, history, and other issues related to the study area. The workshop will take place in the Community Room at the Sugar Estates Senior Residence behind the hospital.
  • Thursday, September 17, 6–7:30 p.m. — After hearing community input from Tuesday’s public workshop and conducting a preliminary study of the target area, the team will present recommendations at the same location as above. All are welcome to attend.

During the visit to St. Thomas, the team will seek ways to:

  • Develop design solutions that improve walkability, pedestrian safety and access, mobility issues, and promote public health.
  • Encourage the integration of resilient infrastructure improvements including stormwater management systems and sustainable landscaping.
  • Provide recommendations on smart and sustainable growth planning and land use regulation strategies.

APA’s Community Planning Assistance Teams (CPAT) are composed of nationally recognized experts who volunteer their time to work with residents, government officials, and other key stakeholders to offer planning assistance to communities to develop plans and policies that support good planning. The CPAT program was established in 1995. Previous teams have recently worked in Rockport and Wharton, Texas; Quinault Indian Nation; Page, Arizona; and Belize City, Belize, among other locations.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating great communities for all. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning, offering better choices for where and how people work and live. The 45,000 APA members work in concert with community residents, civic leaders, and business interests to create communities that enrich people's lives. Through its philanthropic work, APA’s Foundation helps to reduce economic and social barriers to good planning. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Learn more at

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Roberta Rewers, APA Communications Manager, 312-786-6395;

September 6, 2019