Villalba, Puerto Rico

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Villalba

Municipio de Villalba
Town and Municipality
Skyline of Villalba
Flag of Villalba
Flag
Nicknames: 
"Ciudad de los Avancinos", "Ciudad del Gandul", "Ciudad de los Lagos", "Ciudad del Cooperativismo"
Anthem: "A las orillas del Río Jacaguas"
Location of Villalba in Puerto Rico
Location of Villalba in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°07′38″N 66°29′32″W / 18.12722°N 66.49222°W / 18.12722; -66.49222Coordinates: 18°07′38″N 66°29′32″W / 18.12722°N 66.49222°W / 18.12722; -66.49222
CountryUnited States
TerritoryPuerto Rico
Founded1917
Government
 • MayorLuis Javier 'Javi' Hernández Ortiz (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.6 - Guayama
Area
 • Total37.69 sq mi (97.61 km2)
 • Land37 sq mi (96 km2)
 • Water0.62 sq mi (1.61 km2)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total26,073
 • Density690/sq mi (270/km2)
Demonym(s)Villalbeños
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
Zip code
00766
Major RoutesCR 143 jct wide.svg CR 149 jct wide.svg CR 150 jct wide.svg CR 151 jct wide.svg

Villalba (Spanish pronunciation: [biˈʎalβa]) (a shortening of Villa Alba) is a municipality of Puerto Rico (U.S.) located in the central region, northeast of Juana Díaz; south of Orocovis; and west of Coamo. Villalba is spread over 6 wards and Villalba Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the Ponce Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Villalba was founded in 1917 by José Ramón Figueroa y Rivera and Walter McJones. Its current mayor is the Luis Javier Hernàndez.

Geography[edit]

Villalba[1] is located in the central region.

  • Guayabal Lake
  • Toa Vaca Lake
  • Toro Negro Forest Reserve

Hurricane Maria[edit]

Map of landslides in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered numerous landslides in Villalba with the significant amount of rain that fell.[2][3]

The entire electrical system was destroyed. Villalba's emergency operations center and an assisted living center were among the many buildings destroyed in Villalba.[4] "From Catastrophe to Hope" (De la Catastrofe a la esperanza), a documentary describing the destruction of infrastructure in Villalba, and how volunteers, community members, the mayor, and all emergency services worked to save people's lives, was published in 2019 by Noticias de Villalba, Villalba News. Bridges were destroyed and many areas where vital infrastructure were located were inaccessible. The geography of Villalba made restoring electricity and water services to Villalba extremely challenging. Chaplains, religious leaders of all denominations provided emotional support to all involved.[5]

In 2018, Javier Hernández, the mayor discussed other options for electrical power, such as micro-grids, for Villalba, with the mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, who reminded him that recovery from such a powerful hurricane would take years.[6][7] Architect Jonathan Marvel talked about his company's plans to build an off-the-grid, 41-unit building in Villalba on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria.[8]

Barrios[edit]

Subdivisions of Villalba.

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Villalba is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".[9][10][11][12]

Energy consortium[edit]

An Energy Consortium was signed in late February, 2019 by Villalba, Orocovis, Morovis, Ciales and Barranquitas municipalities. The consortium is the first of its kind for the island. It is intended to have municipalities work together to safeguard and create resilient, and efficient energy networks, with backups for their communities.[13]

Tourism[edit]

Landmarks and places of interest[edit]

  • Guayabal Lake
  • La Corona Hill
  • Toa Vaca Lake
  • Toro Negro Forest Reserve
  • Biblioteca Pública
  • Centro de Bellas Artes Adrian Rosado
  • Iglesia Católica Nuestra Señora del Carmen

Economy[edit]

Agriculture[edit]

  • Coffee, Green Pigeon Peas.

Industry[edit]

  • Manufacturing of aluminum packaging and electrical and electronic machinery, nutritional products, medical devices, and others.

Culture[edit]

Festivals and events[edit]

  • Matron Celebrations - July
  • Puerto Rico Marathon - July
  • Areyto Festival - November
  • Carlos Báez Marathon - December
  • Festival del ñame y carne frita- November
  • Celebración del centenario- Abril 2017

Government[edit]

All municipalities in Puerto Rico are administered by a mayor, elected every four years. Waldemar Rivera Torres (of the Popular Democratic Party) served as mayor since 2005 to 2012. The current mayor is Javier (Javi) Hernández who was elected in 2013.[14]

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district VI, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, Miguel Pereira Castillo and Angel M. Rodríguez were elected as District Senators.[15]

Transportation[edit]

There are 23 bridges in Villalba.[16]

Symbols[edit]

Flag[edit]

Four horizontal, unequal stripes in width, that from top to bottom have the following order: green, white, green and yellow. In the immediate side to the flagstaff, in the superior stripe, appears, in white color, the star of the shield.

Education[edit]

  • Villalba School District (Puerto Rico Department of Education)
  • Puerto Rico Criminal Justice College- Villalba Campus (Puerto Rico Police Academy)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Villalba Municipality - Municipalities - EnciclopediaPR". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH).
  2. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico". USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  3. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico" (PDF). USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  4. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (7 April 2019). "Hunger and an 'Abandoned' Hospital: Puerto Rico Waits as Washington Bickers" – via NYTimes.com.
  5. ^ "De La Catastrofe a La Esperanza" (in Spanish) – via www.facebook.com.
  6. ^ McDonald, Terrence (11 August 2018). "Puerto Rico mayor visits Hoboken to discuss disaster recovery". nj.com.
  7. ^ "Hoboken Mayor Returns From Puerto Rico Exchange Trip". NPR.org.
  8. ^ Budds, Diana (20 September 2018). "How architects and designers are rebuilding Puerto Rico one year later". Curbed.
  9. ^ Picó, Rafael; Buitrago de Santiago, Zayda; Berrios, Hector H. Nueva geografía de Puerto Rico: física, económica, y social, por Rafael Picó. Con la colaboración de Zayda Buitrago de Santiago y Héctor H. Berrios. San Juan Editorial Universitaria, Universidad de Puerto Rico,1969.
  10. ^ Gwillim Law (20 May 2015). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 through 1998. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-4766-0447-3. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  11. ^ Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau. 2010.
  12. ^ "Map of Villalba at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  13. ^ Vazquez, Priscilla. "Asociación de Industriales de Puerto Rico". Industriales Puerto Rico.
  14. ^ T, Terrence (11 August 2018). "Puerto Rico mayor visits Hoboken to discuss disaster recovery". nj.com.
  15. ^ Elecciones Generales 2012: Escrutinio General Archived December 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine on CEEPUR
  16. ^ "Villalba Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 19 February 2019.