Wednesday, November 28, 2012

PM, Aga Khan to sign park facelift project

By PETER LEFTIE pmutibo@ke.nationmedia.com

A project to restore the Nairobi City Park will be formalised on Thursday.

His Highness The Aga Khan and Prime Minister Raila Odinga will sign the agreement to rehabilitate the Park at the Nairobi National Museum.

The ceremony, according to a statement from the Aga Khan Development Network, will pave the way for the Aga Khan Trust to embark on the rehabilitation early next year.

“The primary objective of the project is to rehabilitate Nairobi’s City Park as a major metropolitan park that meets the highest standards in restoration, environmental practices and financial sustainability,” the statement noted.

The project will entail collaboration through environmental improvement, landscaping and creation of new facilities which will improve the quality of the site, making the environment safe for visitors, besides providing the necessary infrastructure .

Funds for the project will come from multiple sources, including the Aga Khan Development Network, grants, donor funds and other forms of project finance from reputable organisations, the statement read.

Operations would be managed by a park operations unit, whose role would be to maintain and attract visitors. Any revenue would be reinvested in social projects.

The first phase will involve site surveys and collection of significant data to help with the conservation, while the second phase will consist of actual project implementation.

The third phase will be operation and management of the Park’s activities.

An oversight committee comprising of representatives from the Kenyan government and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, will be responsible for the management and coordination of various projects within the Park.

It will provide financial oversight, and preparation of special programmes within the facility while the Nairobi City Council will be responsible for ensuring that any relevant development within the Park area is approved and included in the city’s master plan.

The committee will also facilitate the lawful compliance, consents and permits for the timely completion of the project.

With ten park and garden projects now in its portfolio, the Trust has demonstrated that even in the most difficult contexts, parks can have a positive impact on a city if they are restored and maintained.

The statement further noted that, under the right conditions, parks and gardens can also be economic generators that drive - directly and indirectly - a broad advance of positive change.

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