Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
When the new $12-million straw market officially opens in a few weeks time it will symbolize a Renaissance or rebirth of sorts for downtown Nassau, according to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
Some 500 hundred vendors–including 14 woodcarvers–will be accommodated at the new custom-built display and storage stalls in the new market.
Speaking in the House of Assembly Monday, on a bill intended to create a Straw Market Authority to provide for the operation and maintenance of the Straw Craft Market, Ingraham said that in the months ahead there will be even greater evidence of the renewal and restoration of the historic city centre, beginning with the transformation of the current site of the temporary straw market tent into “a green oasis” at the western entrance to Bay Street.
The redevelopment of historic public buildings and government offices and facilities began in earnest with the restoration and upgrade of the Supreme Court Building, the Hansard Building and the nearly completed refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament.
Work continues on the new Judicial Building–formerly the Ansbacher House, while additional works are scheduled for the Supreme Court Building, buildings on Bank Lane that currently house the magistrate’s courts and a police station and on the former BaTelCo building on East Street.
The City of Nassau Revitalization Act, 2008 passed by Parliament to encourage and incentivize the redevelopment of the city, has resulted in a number of improvement projects.
Among them Ingraham counted John Bull’s main store’s upgrade; the construction and now the outfit of tenants at the Bayside Marketplace at Elizabeth and Bay Streets; the reconstruction of the Dunkin Donuts building at Cumberland and Marlborough Streets; and the redevelopment of the commercial space occupied by Diamonds International.
“These developments highlight the fact that the City of Nassau extends east to west, as well as north to south,” the prime minister noted.
In all, he said, some 34 redevelopment and upgrading projects have been approved under the Act since 2008. Additionally, another 10 downtown restaurants and entertainment establishments have been approved for customs duty concessions under the Hotels Encouragement Act.
The government is also proposing to designate and develop a place on Marlborough Street where independent entrepreneurs will be able to display and sell indigenous Bahamian handicrafts. However, the prime minister did not offer a timeframe for when work would commence on this latest initiative.