Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Bartlett commits $100 million to Alpha Redevelopment Plan

Published:Friday | December 14, 2018 | 11:51 AM
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett delivering the keynote address at the soft launch of the Alpha Mercy Historical Centre at the South Camp Road Alpha campus on December 12, 2018. -Contributed photo

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has committed $100 million to the redevelopment of the 40-acre Alpha campus. 

The allocation will come from the ministry’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) in tranches of $20 million over five years, said Bartlett as he gave the keynote address at the soft launch of the Alpha Mercy Historical Centre at the South Camp Road Alpha campus. 

This financial commitment is in addition to a TEF contribution of $11 million towards Phase 1 of the building of the Alpha Mercy Historical Centre. 

It is a community and heritage tourism product aimed at highlighting the history of the Sisters of Mercy and illustrating their significant contribution and impact on the cultural, social, religious and educational development of Jamaica for more than 136 years.

In lauding Alpha and its phenomenal contribution to Jamaica’s development, Minister Bartlett said, “We have to look at how we build on that tradition. We have to look at how we extend that legacy and how we create more visitor experiences, more revenue, and more capital development of the human spirit.”

In addition, the tourism minister pledged his commitment to work with Mayor of Kingston and St Andrew Delroy Williams to realise his vision of redeveloping downtown Kingston‘s Parade into a pedestrian-only zone to add value to the city’s tourism product and increase commerce.  

“It is a vision that encapsulates my vision, and we will meet the first working week of January to complete this discussion we began here today,” said Minister Bartlett.

“The city of Kingston’s time has come, and we are committed to seeing it through,” he continued while noting big plans for Kingston and Port Royal and pledging his commitment to building out the experiences and making Jamaica, through these two gateways, the "pearl of the Caribbean".

Bartlett also noted that the TEF has spent some $1.7 billion over the last five years to restore and develop historic sites and monuments across Jamaica.

He concluded by saying, “It will be my delight to help position the Alpha Mercy Historical Centre in the bigger picture of Destination Kingston as we to seek to build out Kingston as a city tourism experience for food, entertainment, and culture but, most importantly, to continuously tell a story, and what a wonderful story Alpha is.”

The redevelopment plan for the Alpha campus will directly benefit the 4,000 students who are educated in the five institutions located in the campus, while over 18,000 individuals and families will be indirectly impacted by the plans.

The plan includes development of a new school of music at the Alpha Institute offering a four-year associate degree programme in music, a new primary school for 1,000 children that will incorporate technology-based education, a performing- and visual-arts centre for girls; a new science lab for the Alpha Convent of Mercy Academy, and an amphitheatre for entertainment. In addition, there will be widened roadways and new entrances to the property.

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