Saint Croix Will Look Different in the 2030s
With a new National Heritage Site designation, novel sociocultural shifts and economic opportunities could unfold for St. Croix over the next decade.
Washington D.C.—St. Croix’s new designation as a National Heritage Site is a ground-shaking development for the U.S. Virgin Islands. President Joe Biden signed the National Heritage Area Act at the turn of the new year, coinciding with his visit during the island's annual Crucian Christmas Festival.
As of 2023, 62 National Heritage Areas are designated throughout the United States.
“Before signing this legislation, there were only 21 areas in the United States designated as National Heritage Areas,” Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett said after Biden’s signature. “This is a tremendous boon for our beautiful, culturally rich home and an honor to our ancestors.” Plaskett is a Democrat beginning her fifth term in the House of Representatives.
“The effort to achieve this designation started with former Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen in 2003 with a bill to authorize a feasibility study for the NHA designation on St. Croix,” Plaskett added. The feasibility study, covering the island of St. Croix, culminated in a 200-page report published by the NPS.
With the new designation, novel sociocultural shifts and economic opportunities could unfold for St. Croix over the next decade. The territory’s largest island could see further upgrades to infrastructure, integrated public transportation, and renovations to cultural sites in the coming years. In a 2021 report, the National Park Service (NPS) reported over 21,000 volunteers contributed over 281,649 hours to heritage area projects. According to the report, the economic impact of those volunteers is valued at a whopping $7.6 million.
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