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Ward Theatre to be restored by May - Mayor

Published:Tuesday | February 14, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
The Ward Theatre, downtown Kingston.

Delroy Williams, mayor of Kingston, is expecting that the long-awaited restoration of the 105-year-old Ward Theatre in downtown Kingston will be realised by May of this year.

In an interview with The Gleaner following the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation's monthly meeting this week, Williams said the plan is to redevelop the historical site to First World standard, which is expected to cost approximately US$6 million, while the cost to get it fully operational will be some $50 million.

"We are still working on a time frame, but I'm pretty certain that we will get it operational by May this year," he declared. "We have been in discussion with the ministry having responsibility for culture and they, too, are seeking funding to install a new AC (air conditioning unit). The minister of tourism has said they have placed in the budget $10 million to assist, which I believe will go towards the electrical aspect, plumbing and other repairs."

On Wednesday, Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama United States, Dr William Bell, along with his delegation, toured the facility. Both mayors just signed a Sister City agreement between Kingston and Alabama.




"I am committed to seeing the theatre fully restored. I'm pretty sure that the AC will be installed quickly. Following that, we move to the electrical and plumbing, then on to other restoration work," said Williams.

Declaring that one of his objectives as tourism minister is to "raise the dead and bring life to downtown Kingston", Edmund Bartlett said that the rebuilding of the city will be critical to development.

"We need to bring in investment. We hear that a team of private-sector people are now interested in restoring key areas in downtown Kingston, so we want to encourage that," Bartlett said.