Fields: Components on downtown redevelopment coming together
The redevelopment of east of East Street and the return of Bahamians and commerce to the area is not a “pie in the sky” idea, Managing Director of the Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP) Ed Fields said recently, adding that a catalyst to spur Bahamian ownership downtown is all that is needed.
Fields, who was a panelist at The Bahamas Press Club’s Quarterly Speakers Corner last week, explained that many components have already come together to improve the city of Nassau, and Bahamian businesses are already moving back to the city as new developments like The Pointe drive Bahamians to open businesses.
He contended that once The Pointe is populated, even more businesses will begin to be developed in the area.
When faced with the question of whether Nassau is being redeveloped for Bahamians or for tourists, Fields said: “It has always been our premise that you build for residents and tourists will enjoy that which residents enjoy.”
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation Jeffrey Beckles said Bahamians have to understand what the new demands are for downtown and what the needs are of the people who come to the area, in order to understand what businesses to develop.
Fields said spaces ––are already planned to improve the life of Bahamians, but that are sure to also attract tourists. He explained that the Clifford Park area will be developed into a sort of “Central Park” where Bahamians can find numerous recreational activities.
He added that in the next month, Bahamians can expect a National Pride Folk Festival downtown, which will utilize the squares redeveloped by the DNP.
President of the Association of Bahamas Marinas Peter Maury said the boardwalk that will eventually allow tourists and locals to walk unfettered from the eastern end of the cruise port to the Sidney Poitier Bridge is two-thirds completed, with portions of it still to be connected.
Another panel member, Global Ports Holding Head of Business Development for the Americas Colin Murphy, said the influx of 30,000 cruise passengers into Nassau when the port is redeveloped will mean increased employment and opportunities for many Bahamians, and he invited them to take advantage of it.
“We want to give people a reason to come downtown again,” he said.
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