Project to Revitalize Downtown Underway


Government’s programme to revitalize downtown Kingston is underway with work already started on a number of projects.
Chairman of the Kingston City Centre Improvement Committee (KCCIC), Dr. Vin Lawrence, has informed that work has begun on the cleaning of the St. William Grant Park and putting in security for the park and market area.
“Physical activities such as park improvement and building the transportation centre will begin in the next two to three months,” he said, while informing that phase one of the transportation project should be completed by the end of August.
Dr. Lawrence, who was speaking at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s (JCC) board meeting held on January 18 at the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) headquarters on Hope Road, called on the downtown Kingston business community to support the programme of development, noting that they stood to benefit most from the initiative.
“We don’t feel it’s a government project; we want to get the business community involved as they are the main beneficiaries,” Dr. Lawrence stated, adding that, “all incentives are there to encourage people to take advantage and derive benefits from an improved downtown Kingston.
KCCIC is a private/public sector company established by Prime Minister P. J. Patterson in 2002, to look into the problems facing downtown Kingston and to develop a plan for the revitalisation of the city. The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation is a major partner in the effort.
The government started the process last year, by breaking ground for the construction of 3,000 houses for residents living in communities surrounding the city.
Last August, the first set of projects were launched to include the construction of the transportation centre to ease congestion, improvement of the cultural district beside St. William Grant Park and the Ward Theatre as well as putting in a Simon Bolivar cultural centre, which Venezuela will be helping to construct.
It was expected that some $500 million would be raised to implement the projects, with the private sector contributing $250 million and the government matching that amount.
However, approximately $63 million has been raised so far from the private sector and the KCCIC chairman is calling for more support.
He told the businesspersons, that the planned improvements to the business district would result in increased commercial activities. “Downtown Kingston is a major centre of commerce, culture and other activities (and) a lot of business activities will take place there. Property value will move up as once you tidy up the place, people will feel safe and will want to live there” he pointed out.

JIS Social