The upgrading of Burns Avenue and preparation for the Cayo Resource Centre have been progressing over the past few months. As you may be aware ground breaking ceremonies were held for a Welcome Center in the San Ignacio back in August of last year. John August is the Mayor for the twin towns and he tells us more about the project.

Mayor John August
We have the downtown project happening as we speak; it is a project that started last year August, where we did the Groundbreaking Ceremony and the actual construction started. It costs roughly about three million dollars for what is being called the Cayo Welcome Center. We will also have two bus facilities for when people come into San Igancio and we will have little areas that we can rent out as food stalls and gift shops. We are also going to have an area that tourists or anyone visiting San Ignacio can stop at to know more about the Cayo District.

The project is aimed at addressing many of the issues of parking and congestion, inadequate sewage and lighting, currently experienced in the Coronation Park area. Luis Blas Mendez is the architect overseeing the project.

Luis Blas Mendez, Architect
Right now we have five companies working at the same time, but we are the ones that are spearheading it. BEL is putting their piping, BWS have put their pipes too and cable and telephone have done their ground work - all those wires will be go into the ground.

One of the problems facing many municipalities within the country is proper drainage. Mendez says the design take this into consideration.

Luis Blas Mendez
The streets will be drained and there is a two feet pipe there and that pipe increase when it goes there and it reaches to four feet when it reaches the Macal river and we have always had a problem here, so it will serve as a valve of escape for water that drops from the streets that accommodates here when the rainy season starts.

All electrical and communications for the area are being upgraded and being placed underground; and with the progression of the project and laying of cobble stones one of the question that is yet to be answered - whether vehicular traffic will be allowed on the cobbled stones street upon its completion.

Mayor John August
It is something that we are still thinking about, we haven’t finalized that yet, but so after we have spoken to some of the business owners there and I think they welcome the idea to make it a pedestrian only, but we will probably have a public meeting or a meeting with those business owners about what they think about it. There is an alley that runs between the Venus Hotel and what used to a restaurant and we have been putting down the cobblestones in that area to connect Burns Avenue with the Welcome Center, so that portion of Burns Avenue will connect through the alleyway into the Welcome Center.

The facility is being built on 2.5 acres of land and also include a facelift of the existing market. The project is being implemented by the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture after having received financing from the Inter–American Development Bank. Works is expected to conclude by May of this year.