Major City upgrade

by Emmanuel Joseph

churchvillageredevelopmentTwo new multi million dollar heritage projects will shortly be added to the Bridgetown landscape and with them, scores of jobs for Barbadians.

In an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY this afternoon, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc., Stuart Layne, revealed that one of those ventures on which construction will start next week, is the redevelopment of Church Village.

Layne disclosed that BTII had just awarded the contract for the development, which would entail green spaces stretching from Church Village in the area of the Tom Adams Financial Centre to Queen’s Park and Constitution River.†He said it would involve beautification of the designated area as part of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison and would link up with 2A and 2B of the Constitution River scheme now under construction.

The Church Village initiative, the CEO added, would also see the building of an amphitheatre with an estimated seating capacity of 199 people and standing room for 1,372. Layne noted that it would be used for the staging of a variety of cultural activities.

He told this newspaper that this new site was projected to finish by year end or January at the latest.

“Presently, (we) cannot quantify the exact number of persons (to be employed); however, jobs will be created for both construction and landscaping works. After construction, there will be maintenance,” the executive pointed out.

He declined to put a figure on the cost of the project, only to say it will be a multi-million dollar one.

Asked what measures would be put in place to prevent vandalism and littering, Stuart replied: “Daily manual security of the site and 24 hour CCTV monitoring.”

He explained that vandalism had been taken into account with different elements of the design, including the seating. The CEO gave the assurance that garbage containers would †be put in place to help deal with littering.

Layne added that all but one of the properties which were required to relocate had already been moved.

“This will not stop us from going ahead with what we have to do. In any case, it is not in our way,” he continued.

The other project on which work will commence soon, is the restoration and beautification of the screw dock or dry dock, situated near the mouth of the Careenage, and which architectural historian Professor Henry Fraser suggested, stopped lifting ships for repairs in 1973.

The Barbados screw dock, which dates back to the 19th century, is the last remaining facility of its kind anywhere in the world, revealed its background history.

Stuart disclosed that his agency, which owned this heritage asset, would be working in conjunction with Attractions of Barbados, to create on-shore and off-shore tours for visitors and locals alike.

He announced that it was expected to open for the 2013-14 winter tourism season, and assured that no aspects of the existing dock would be changed, and that tours of the facility would be historical in nature.

The top executive observed that the site would be preserved, protected and beautified for its proper use.

“We are very happy to work with Attractions of Barbados on this project, and on how arrangements are going,” added Layne.

Scores of jobs will also be created through this venture, for which a cost has not been disclosed either. Fraser welcomed the restoration of these heritage sites.††††††

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