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Toa Alta (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtoa ˈalta]) is a municipality of Puerto Rico (U.S.) located in the northern coast of the island, north of Naranjito; south of Dorado and Toa Baja; east of Vega Alta and Corozal; and west of Bayamón. Toa Alta is spread over eight wards and Toa Alta Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo metropolitan statistical area.[1]

Toa Alta

Municipio de Toa Alta
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción y San Fernando
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción y San Fernando
Flag of Toa Alta
Flag
Coat of arms of Toa Alta
Coat of arms
Nicknames: 
La Ciudad del Toa,
Cuna de Poetas,
Ciudad del Josco
Anthem: "Cuna de historia y de grandes poetas"
Location of Toa Alta in Puerto Rico
Location of Toa Alta in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°23′18″N 66°14′54″W / 18.38833°N 66.24833°W / 18.38833; -66.24833Coordinates: 18°23′18″N 66°14′54″W / 18.38833°N 66.24833°W / 18.38833; -66.24833
Sovereign StateUnited States
Founded1751
Government
 • MayorClemente "Chito" Agosto (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.2 - Bayamón
 • Representative dist.11
Area
 • Total27.44 sq mi (71.08 km2)
 • Land27.37 sq mi (70.88 km2)
 • Water0.08 sq mi (0.20 km2)
Elevation
236 ft (72 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total74,066
 • Density2,700/sq mi (1,000/km2)
Demonym(s)Toalteños
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
Zip code
00953, 00954
Area code+1 (spec. +1-787 and +1-939)
Major RoutesPR primary 5.svg PR urban primary 167.svg PR urban primary 199.svg CR 142 jct wide.svg CR 159 jct wide.svg CR 165 jct wide.svg

Contents

HistoryEdit

Toa Alta is located west of the capital city of San Juan and was founded in 1751, making it one of the oldest towns on the island of Puerto Rico. The construction of the San Fernando Rey church in the town square began in 1752. The name Toa Alta comes from the Taíno word for mother or fertility, Thoa. Over the years, agriculture became an important economic force in the area. At the peak of the agricultural economy, the town was also known as the "Granja de los Reyes Católicos" (the Farm of the Catholic Monarchs). The town is also called Ciudad del Josco. The town is commonly known by its nickname La Cuna de los Poetas, or "Cradle of Poets", due to the numerous Spanish-language poets born there, such as Abelardo Díaz Alfaro and the musician Tomás "Masso" Rivera.[2]

GeographyEdit

Toa Alta[3] belongs to the Northern Coastal Plain and to the karst zone.

Flood control projectEdit

In mid 2018, the United States Army Corps of Engineers announced it would be undertaking a major flood control project of a river that often causes flooding in Toa Alta, Río de la Plata.[4]

Hurricane MariaEdit

Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered numerous landslides in Toa Alta with the significant amount of rain that fell.[5][6]

BarriosEdit

 
Subdivisions of Toa Alta.

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Toa Alta is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".[7][8][9][10]

TourismEdit

Landmarks and places of interestEdit

  • Legendary Tree Bala de Cañón
  • Tomas "Maso" Rivera Municipal Teather
  • Tomas "Maso" Rivera Statue
  • Plaza Recreo Egozcué
  • San Fernando Rey Parish
  • Villa Tropical Recreation Center
  • Plaza Aquarium Mall
  • Valle El Toa

EconomyEdit

Special communitiesEdit

Since 2001 when law 1-2001 was passed,[12] measures have been taken to identify and address the high levels of poverty and the lack of resources and opportunities affecting specific communities in Puerto Rico. Initially there were 686 places that made the list.[13] By 2008, there were 742 places on the list of Comunidades especiales de Puerto Rico. The places on the list are barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods and in 2004 included the following areas in Toa Alta:[13][14]

  1. Comunidad Acerolas
  2. Sector Cuba Libre
  3. Sector La Prá
  4. Villa del Río
  5. Villa Josco
  6. Villa Juventud

In 2017, Governor Rosello created a new government agency to aid the Special Communities of Puerto Rico Program and Jesús Vélez Vargas, its director stated that the program was evolving with more streamlined ways to help the residents of these marginalized communities.[15][16]

CultureEdit

Festivals and eventsEdit

  • Chopa Marathon - March
  • Festival de Bellas Artes - April
  • Patron Celebrations - May
  • Typical Music - November

GovernmentEdit

Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Toa Alta is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is Clemente Agosto, from the Popular Democratic Party (PPD). Agosto was elected at the 2012 general election.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district II, which is represented by two senators. Migdalia Padilla and Carmelo Ríos Santiago have served as District Senators since 2005.[17]

TransportationEdit

There are 16 bridges in Toa Alta.[18] In January, 2019 the mayor of Toa Alta fought for the reopening of highway 861, which, he stated, was closed without warning by Puerto Rico Public Works.[19]

SymbolsEdit

FlagEdit

Horizontally divided in three, the bottom and top red stripes are double the size of the center yellow stripe. In the upper left corner is a yellow, eight-point star. The original design was elaborated by professor Herman E. Perez and adopted by the City Council in 1983.

Coat of armsEdit

The shield in gold, a red board with a silver sword topped with a gold crown of the same metal, to each side two small shields in red, the right-hand one with a tower in gold and the left-hand one with a gold eight point star, a five tower crown lined in black with red openings. The motto is Non Deserit Alta and Professor Herman E. Pérez included it in the coat of arms so that present and future generations will remember to “not abandon higher principles and values”.

EducationEdit

There are several public and private schools in Toa Alta and public education is handled by the Puerto Rico Department of Education.[20]

Elementary schoolsEdit

  • Alejandro Junior Cruz
  • Heraclio Rivera Colón
  • José de Diego
  • José María del Valle
  • Luis Muñoz Rivera
  • Manuel Velilla
  • María C. Osorio
  • Merced Marcano
  • Secundino Díaz
  • Violanta Jiménez
  • Virgilio Morales

Middle and junior high schoolsEdit

  • José Pablo Morales
  • Abelardo Díaz Alfaro
  • Felipe Díaz González

High schoolsEdit

  • Adela Rolón Fuentes
  • Nicolás Sevilla
  • Tomás "Maso" Rivera Morales

Private schoolsEdit

  • Academia Cristiana Yarah
  • Colegio Doriber

Notable natives and residentsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Gobierno de Puerto Rico - Toa Alta, Puerto Rico".
  2. ^ "Plan Ordenamiento Territorial del Municipio de Toa Alta" (PDF). Gobierno de Puerto Rico Oficina del Gobernador Junta de Planificación.
  3. ^ "Toa Alta Municipality - Municipalities - EnciclopediaPR". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH).
  4. ^ "USACE: $3.348 billion go toward reducing flood risk in Florida, Puerto Rico and USVI". Caribbean Business. 6 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico". USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  6. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico" (PDF). USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau. 2010.
  10. ^ "Map of Toa Alta at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  11. ^ "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". factfinder.com. US Census. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  14. ^ Rivera Quintero, Marcia (2014), El vuelo de la esperanza : Proyecto de las Comunidades Especiales Puerto Rico, 1997-2004 (Primera edición ed.), San Juan, Puerto Rico Fundación Sila M. Calderón, p. 277, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0
  15. ^ "Evoluciona el proyecto de Comunidades Especiales". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  16. ^ ElVocero.com, Por. "Ya es ley Oficina para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico y Comunitario". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  17. ^ Elecciones Generales 2008: Escrutinio General Archived 2011-11-20 at the Wayback Machine on CEEPUR
  18. ^ "Toa Alta Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  19. ^ Claudio, Ronald Ávila. "Alcalde de Toa Alta dice enfrentará al DTOP para evitar cierre de carretera". Metro.
  20. ^ "Educación". toalta.tripod.com.

External linksEdit