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Government House Rehabilitation Project

Posted By: Marty

Government House Rehabilitation Project - 07/08/20 06:36 PM

GOVERNMENT HOUSE: WHERE THE PRESENT WILL FINALLY MEET THE PAST

Facebook is reminding me about a post I made about two years ago which I am sharing. At that time the vision of what we wanted to accomplish at Government House was only a distant dream. You know you start out with a dream and the end product sometimes doesn't always end the way you want it. However, although the end product in our instance ended up a little different than the original rendition, we accomplished the original dream. We have reached the end of the portion of our project. At times it seemed only a distant light at the end of a tunnel. Today, we are a mere weeks from our grand opening.

Here is an artist's rendering of the proposed design made in 2017. Renderings by VIVIDARCH.
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The idea for the Government House restoration project has its origins from about 2008. Its been about twelve years in the making. The idea was to make the Government House property a destination to draw visitors into downtown since downtown was gradually losing its appeal to locals and visitors. The road to accomplishing that goal was fraught with obstacles, bottlenecks and setbacks to say the least. A project which was to take two years will eventually take five years. However, true it all, with the patience and guidance of Taiwan ICDF, the project not only accomplished our objectives, but took on a more larger objective. That larger objective had taken the Government House property from the main attraction to only one of the attractions, although still the main one. That larger objective would encompass the entire downtown by turning it into an Ecomuseum.

So now the Government House property is mostly completed and we are preparing for its grand opening later this month. I will admit that the Government House has never looked better. It is truly one the most beautiful places in the City and next month it will be 205 years old. Lots of care went into its rehabilitation to ascertain that the integrity of its design and construction materials were preserved. You could say the old lady is ready for her close-up.

The property now boasts a new House of Culture. The new House of Culture is much better suited for its intended purpose. The old lady could not continue to take loud music and dancing anymore.

The Carriage House has been rebuilt and now houses the new NICH Headquarters where Madame President, Ms. Sapna Budhrani, and her staff are residing.

Five hundred feet of concrete pavement have been added. So, now the grounds is much more inviting, navigatable and exhibits a clear path around the property. Along this pavement are some twenty-six new interpretive signs which will convey various historical information and promote the rich flora and fauna of the property.

Last but not least, a new 30-plus car parking lot has also been added.

While I was there yesterday preparing for the grand opening, I was happy to see some neighbourhood teenagers were on the property swimming in the murky water. This was even after the construction fence on the east side was left in place for security purposes. It seemed that they they got around that It is good to see that although lots have change at the property that some things will never change.

Photos that follow taken today.

Regent Albert

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Posted By: Marty

Re: Government House Rehabilitation Project - 07/08/20 06:36 PM

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Posted By: Marty

Re: Government House Rehabilitation Project - 08/12/20 12:00 PM

The Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project started in 2014 and will conclude on October 9th, 2020. Our signature or primary restoration sub-component which is what our project was built around, was the rehabilitation and construction on the Government House property. in this component we rehabilitated the Government House, constructed a new House of Culture, rebuilt the Carriage House, installed a new parking lot, rehabilitated the grounds and sea wall areas. This sub-component project in the greater Downtown Rejuvenation Project was where a considerable portion of the total funds was invested. The Government House Property is a remarkable and beautiful property with considerable amounts of history. The portion of the investment of which the Downtown Rejuvenation Project was responsible for has been completed, and so today, we would like to present a short promotional video of what we accomplished at this historic site.

A few years ago, I took my family for the first time to go visit the Government House Museum. We we walked around looking at the different displays as we did that I saw people or staff coming out of a room on the right of the entrance to the building. I wondered who they were and what they were doing in that office. At that time I wasn't too much into history and did not not know even the basic facts about our downtown history. Little did I know that just a year later I would be working out of that same little office those people were coming out of and that I would become intimately involved with the very house I was merely visiting and knew nothing about. Today, because of my work with the project, I consider myself not an expert, but a person that knows much more than the average person about the history of downtown.

As part of the Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Project, the project team toiled on the Government House Property for five years. We had lots of hurdles and bottlenecks. The road was bumpy and fraught with obstacles. So, for us to be able to share a promotional video which depicts the completed product gives me lots of joy. Many a days I wondered what it would be like when we completed the renovations One of these days when the public is allowed to visit this magnificent property, you may be able to appreciate our history a little better! You could say the work I did on this property as part of the project team was one of the things that motivated me to create the Belize National Historical Society and hopefully an NGO one of these days. This is where it all began!

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