JIS News

Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Senator Desmond McKenzie, on Tuesday (September 15) unveiled Government’s plan for the redevelopment of downtown Kingston to an international audience, as he addressed the 41st conference in the Lecture Series of the Americas at the Organization of American States’ (OAS) headquarters in Washington, D.C.
He informed that the city council has taken the lead in promoting the redevelopment programme, which is designed by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), and will restore order and growth to downtown by 2012.
It forms part of the government’s urban renewal programme and is in keeping with the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 Jamaica, which is the roadmap for making Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business, by 2030.
Mayor McKenzie told the OAS member country ambassadors, international experts and others, that the re-development process has already started, with the construction of the downtown transportation centre and refurbishing of St. William Grant Park.
The plan by the UDC, includes the establishment of a Kingston waterfront festival marketplace, a multi-modal transportation hub, creation of the Ward Theatre cultural square and construction of the Kingston Harbour Bridge to create a new road network and transport links between Kingston, Norman Manley International Airport, and historic Port Royal. A 200-room hotel and conference centre will also be built, and a business centre zone, which will be a consolidation of existing office and retail commercial activities in the Kingston Mall.
There will also be a new Parliament building and justice square, a railway museum, a trade centre, and a city centre park.
A number of government agencies and ministries, located in the upscale New Kingston area, are to be relocated downtown, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, which has made budgetary allocation for the procurement of land, geological surveys, and project design.
Mayor McKenzie said that when these new projects are completed, new life will be injected into the downtown area. “This will totally transform that part of the city,” he said, noting that “everyone is looking forward to these new improvements with anticipation”.
He informed that as a result of the plans, a number of major companies have announced that they will be relocating downtown, including telecommunications giant Digicel, which will construct its new headquarters in the heart of the city.
He appealed to international donors for support for the projects, noting the government’s commitment to reducing crime and bringing order to the city.
Mayor McKenzie was one of three mayors, who participated in the lecture held under the theme: ‘Perspective from City Hall: The Path to Safe Cities’. The others were Mayor of Lima, Peru, Oscar Luis Castaneda; and former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, Enrique Pe