- Jamaica’s National Heroes Park, situated on some fifty (50) acres within the urban zone designated as Downtown Kingston, is a major historic green space in the nation’s capital. Since 1973, it has been the permanent location for honouring our heroes whose monuments are erected in an area known as the Shrine.
Jamaica’s National Heroes Park, situated on some fifty (50) acres within the urban zone designated as Downtown Kingston, is a major historic green space in the nation’s capital. Since 1973, it has been the permanent location for honouring our heroes whose monuments are erected in an area known as the Shrine.
Over the years, successive Governments have had plans to transform the space to uphold and enhance the purpose and rich history of the National Heroes Park and its immediate environs. As many as eight concept master plans have been developed through the collaborative efforts of various agencies with a vision to provide infrastructure renewal, upgraded housing stock, improved security and new recreational spaces for the communities surrounding the Park. In 2017, this current administration was presented with an opportunity, through an unsolicited proposal; to explore the design and implementation of the development plans for the National Heroes Park and the wider Downtown development.
The most recent concept master plan, led by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), outlining ideas for the redevelopment of the National Heroes Park and the wider Downtown Kingston is currently under review by the Government of Jamaica (GOJ). The funding for the proposed ideas for development is yet to be approved by Cabinet.
To date, the Houses of Parliament Design Competition is the only element of the proposed plans for the redevelopment of a section of the Park, which will form part of the Government Oval Campus, has been advanced. As the focal point of the wider redevelopment, the competition has engaged our Jamaican architects operating locally and in the Diaspora and encouraged public inclusion for reimagining our Parliament Building, and a new Heroes Circle of the future.
In preparation for the approval of the wider development initiative, the UDC have engaged the Social Development Commission (SDC) to carry out community needs assessments, public discussions and consultations towards its feasibility. The UDC is awaiting approval of the Master plan from the Government, in order to commence to the next stage.
The GOJ remains confident in the proven track record demonstrated by the UDC over the past 50 years; which is to plan and design urban developments for the improvement of local communities, including renewal and modernisation projects across Jamaica, in collaboration with other agencies. As project managers, the UDC’s mandate is to ensure that social, community, environmental and infrastructural interests are included in all phases of the development process. The UDC continues to work closely with local communities to ensure that responsible and co-ordinated transition plans are in place prior to any finalisation and execution of its development plans.
The proposed urban renewal vision for Government Oval is slated to take approximately eight years and would be approached in three broad phases. The first being the planning and design phase, which will run from 2018 through 2020; the second being the rebuilding phase which will run through to 2024; and the third being the execution phase, 2025 through 2026 – when Downtown Kingston will be well on the road to be the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.