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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Mayor obtains guidelines for paving streets of communities invaded by squatters

By The Star Staff

Canóvanas Mayor Lornna Soto Villanueva on Tuesday announced new guidelines provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the aim of paving the streets of communities invaded by squatters after Hurricane Hugo.

After Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989, citizens occupied areas in the Municipality of Canóvanas, some of them located in wetlands. The situation led commonwealth and federal agencies to order the municipality to stop all activity and work, except garbage collection, in those areas. In those years, part of the invaded communities, Villa Hugo 1 and 2 and Valle Hill, were left behind, and since then, the previously built roads have not been repaired, despite many municipal requests.

“I am happy because, although we have not achieved the goal of the community’s aspirations, it is progress for these communities where more than 3,000 people live,” the mayor said. “After an intense meeting with our team, we arranged a meeting with the Chief of Permits of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, José Alicea-Pou [chief of the Antilles Permits Section] of the Jacksonville District, who took his time and provided us with clear guidelines that will allow us to execute an action plan to pave existing streets.”

“Given this situation, I have instructed the Municipal Public Works Department to begin an analysis and marking of authorized streets,” Soto Villanueva said. “In addition, I have sent letters to the senators of the District of Carolina, the representatives and the government of Puerto Rico to request their collaboration and support with economic resources to carry out this work, which has an estimated $3 million.”

“We are committed to improving the quality of life of our citizens and to the rehabilitation of these affected communities,” the mayor added. “Paving these streets will significantly contribute to the safety and well-being of all residents. We appreciate the collaboration of federal and state agencies in this process and we trust that, with the support of our representatives, we will be able to advance this important initiative for Canóvanas.”

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