If you travel, or watch enough TV, you'll surely have noticed the impressive landmark signs in developed countries. Well, now you can see one of those signs right in Belize at the Seashore Children's Park. It is not quite as gigantic as say, the Hollywood sign in California, but it will serve the same purpose: to enhance the aesthetics of the area and to attract locals and tourists. Mayor Darrell Bradley discussed the impact of this project on the community.
Darrel Bradley, Mayor of Belize City Council
"One of the difficulties with this, is this all came about as a result of us discovering they were going to privatise this area. Residents had brought it to our attention, and through co-operating with myself, city council and residents in this community, we manage to make representations to the land department. We had very active community individuals, Steven Pererra who led the way in terms of making that representation so they had agreed to leave this area as a public space. And we recognise with partnership with the community groups, that if we wanted to be left as community space, then we had to enhance it. The larger idea is, you see have finished Seashore Drive, and we have finished Buttonwood Bay Boulevard. And one of the things is along Seashore drive we did an exercise belt, and that exercise belt runs right into this park and we are enhancing the area. There are trees being planted along the Seashore Drive area to end off in the park. We are working with a budget, so it's not everything that can be done at one time and the community groups are doing things like the benches, BEL with the lights. We are combining budget like that and we expect within a reasonable period of time, we can get this area to look very good."
Estevan Perrera, Resident of Carribean Shores
"It was a tricky project. After I designed it, how I wanted it to look, I contacted several of the contractors in Belize and I finally found a gentleman by the name of Stephen Coleman that was able to pull it off. We sat down for a day or two to design and come up with a concept whereby we could have created a sign that could represent Belize and could be as sturdy as possible that not even a hurricane could damage it. As you can see the sign is constructed from solid concrete, it's reinforced with steel, so the Belizean public of tourists that come by they can actually interact with the sign, they can climb on it, they can sit down on it and they can take photos with the sign."
The park project is expected to be completed in 4 months.
New Signage for Seashore Children’s Park
Last year, controversy arose over a park in Buttonwood Bay where an abandoned portion of it was in the process of being privatized. Residents in the area, who would frequent the gazebo at the park, were angry that if privatized, they would not have access to the park. So they took their plight to the City Council and Mayor Darrell Bradley. That was in 2013, but fast track one year later and the area now boasts a playground, picnic table, a repainted gazebo and park benches. But for the past couple of weeks, residents spearheaded by Estefan Perera erected a Belize sign as an attraction to the park, now dubbed the Seashore Children’s Park. The brightly colored fixture as well as a newly built exercise path along the seawall makes the park a public space for locals and tourists. Mayor Darrell Bradley spoke to us about getting to this point.
Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
“Through corporation with myself, city council and residents in this community, we made representations to the lands department. We had very active community individuals, Steven Perera who led the way in making that representation so that they had agreed to leave this area as public space. And then we recognized in partnership with the community groups that if we wanted it to be left as a community space, then we had to enhance it. there were certain aspects of it in terms of the lighting. One of the things that is going to be done is that B.E.L. is putting up two—you can see that they are working on it now—so that there will be additional lighting in the area and that’s going to be done in the next couple weeks or so. We expect very shorter park benches that are going to come along there. And of course you know the beautiful Belize sign, which is a fixture; this was done by Steven Coleman, one of the contractors who are working with the City. And again all of these are partnership between community groups in this neighborhood and then the City Council.”
Estefan Perera, Resident
“Eventually, once we completed the first phase, we went on to develop the second phase, which is the sign that you see behind us which is the Belize sign. It was a tricky project, but after I designed it the way I wanted it to look, I contacted several of the contractors in Belize and I finally found the gentleman that was able to pull it off. We sat down for a day or two to design and come up with a concept whereby we could have created a sign that represented Belize and could be as sturdy as possible so even a hurricane couldn’t damage it. as you can see, it is constructed from solid concrete, reinforced with steel, so the Belizean public or the tourists that come by can interact with the sign, they can climb on it, sit down on it and they can take photos with the sign as a nice souvenir to take back to their country.”
“The larger idea is—of course you see that we have finished Seashore Drive and Buttonwood Bay Boulevard—and one of the things is that along Seashore Drive, we did an exercise belt and that exercise belt leads you right into this park. And we are enhancing the area; there are trees being planted along this whole Seashore Drive area to end off in the park. So we expect that of course we are working with a budget so it is not everything that can be done at one time. And the community groups are donating things like the benches, B.E.L. of course like the light. So we are combining the budget like that and we expect that in a reasonable period of time, we can get this area to look very good where people will feel comfortable coming out.”
According to Mayor Bradley, within a four months period, it is expected that the park will become a fully functioning public space.