More Upgrade Projects for Mandela Bay set for 2010 Completion

www.MyPE.co.za: The
Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) has unveiled a series of exciting
development projects in Nelson Mandela Bay that will transform the city
into an entertainment, transport and business hub for 2010 and beyond.
The MBDA, an implementing agent of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality
(NMBM ), is acting on the NMBM’s behalf.  The present mandate
of the MBDA, as instructed by the  NMBM Council, incorporates
CBD urban renewal. The MBDA implements urban renewal projects, as
sanctioned and funded by the NMBM, to serve as a catalyst for private
sector investment. It targets projects, with the cooperation and input
of the NMBM, that will create the biggest possible economic impact
through downstream private sector investment.

MBDA
Projects and Development Manager Dorelle Sapere, ” The NMBM city
fathers have shown great foresight in respect of urban
renewal by approving the Uitenhage Market Square, Strand
Street and Donkin inner city renewal projects.”

Sapere noted that in Uitenhage,
the Market Square proposal will see the
city benefit from a multimillion rand upgrade designed to bring out the
historical importance of the square as well as to create a beautiful
community meeting space in the city. The project is set to begin soon,
and once details of the proposal are finalised, they will be made
public.

Strand Street UpgradeThe Strand
Street upgrade
has also been given the all clear
to proceed and the winning bidders, the Strand Street Consortium, will
soon begin work on extensive upgrades in the street. Strand
Street runs under the busy highway interchange between the city and the
harbour.

Sapere said, “Strand Street is considered an
environmentally degraded street with direct linkages to the harbour and
a major access route between the CBD and harbour port area. This makes
it an important area to upgrade and improve. The construction will
include stairs linking the Market Square to the old Jetty Street and
the historic Campanile at the entrance of the harbour. Work will also
focus improving the street under the highway known as taxi
alley.”

Sapere said the first phase of the upgrade will include the Jetty
Street redevelopment and the removal of the deck there to open Strand
Street’s access to Vuyisile Mini Square.

“We plan to open up the whole street so that pedestrians can use the
new stairway and see the harbour beyond,” explained Sapere.

“We will also be opening up the bus shed and increasing the lighting
and ventilation inside the building. Increasing natural light
in the street will be a very important part of the design as the area
is very dark. We will also be planting trees and placing benches at
strategic points on the pavement so that pedestrians can have natural
resting places. Safety and security in the street will be improved and
traffic calming methods will be used to slow down the chaotic pace.
Street art will also form part of the finished design,” Sapere
said.

Strand StreetShe explained,
“Strand Street links our beautiful city to the harbour
and it is also an important transport hub, for pedestrians as well as
rail, taxi and bus commuters. The plan is to complete part of the
upgrade in time to welcome soccer-loving visitors to our city in
2010.”

“Projects at the Donkin
Reserve
, the city’s most famous
landmark, will include upgrading the lighthouse and
lighthouse keepers cottage and moving the well-known palm trees to line
a pathway, thereby forming a boulevard and freeing up space in the flat
part of the Reserve. A Cycad garden will be created in the green
space.

“A flag pole the same height as the Campanile Tower, near the harbour,
will be erected on the Reserve and we envision that different flags for
specific celebrations, such as Youth Day and Women’s Day, for instance,
be hoisted from this pole. We hope that this feature will help us to
create our city’s own civic event which would attract tourists, with
different schools being called in to change the flag on different
celebratory occasions. All of these projects will be ready for the
influx of tourists in 2010,” Sapere said.

The development in phase one of the Donkin upgrade will be restricted
to the upper portions of the Donkin Reserve with possible future
projects including the establishment of an Eastern Cape arts and crafts
hub, which is expected to create jobs and enable rural crafters to
benefit from 2010 sales.

The Uitenhage Market Square, Stand Street and Donkin projects are
approved and funded NMBM urban renewal projects.

Architect images of the planned Strand
Street Upgrade
.

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