The Coral Bay Community Council has chosen a distinctly 20th century method — the U.S. Postal Service — to reach residents who rely more on face time for communication rather than Facebook.
Last week, the council sent letters to 500 property owners in Coral Bay who have mailing addresses on St. John and St. Thomas.
“These letters are an effort to reach out to residents who don’t routinely use email and social media, and let them know about our programs and projects,” said Sharon Coldren, the volunteer president of the nonprofit organization. “We want to welcome all Coral Bay property owners and residents to become participating members of the Coral Bay Community Council.”
The council is active in issues facing the St. John community. Earlier this month, the council received two grants to help address sediment and stormwater runoff in Coral Bay.
The council announced receipt of a $74,250 grant from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and its federal funding partner, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as a $68,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Coral Reef Conservation fund and its funding partner, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Yet, without full representation from the community, the council leadership fears it doesn’t “hear from community members about projects we can undertake — and solutions we can all be part of,” Coldren wrote.
“CBCC’s agenda encompasses many important current topics — infrastructure improvement, solid waste management improvement, environmental protection, taxes, recreation and community facilities, and more. We depend on volunteers, donations and grants to accomplish good things,” Coldren said.
With the loss of the small island’s only weekly newspaper, “it has become harder to reach out to everyone in the broader community with initiatives,” Coldren said.
All Coral Bay residents or owners of property in Coral Bay are eligible to become voting members. Annual dues are $50 or whatever amount your budget can afford, she said.
The members elect the board of directors.
Founded in 2003, the council is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with more than 400 voting members, Coldren said. It is eligible to receive tax deductible charitable contributions and can apply for federal grants for projects that are valuable to the community. The CBCC also works closely with the territory government departments to publicize and improve services on St. John.