'Times Square' goes downtown
Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter
More sellers and store owners will be participating in this year's massive shopping extravaganza 'Christmas in the City ... Downtown Comes Alive', which was launched yesterday as part of a plan to get more people to shop in the area over the holiday season.
The one-day shopping fiesta, which will see goods offered at discounted prices, is being put on by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation along with a number of private-sector entities and will be extended across the city.
King Street, which will be the hub of the event, will be closed to vehicular traffic from as early as 6 a.m.
The corner of Princess and Beckford streets will be dubbed Downtown Times Square by Prime Minister Bruce Golding in a ceremony come Wednesday.
"We are including the entire downtown Kingston this year as a part of the shopping experience. We are going to be catering for those persons who we refer to as the informal sector of the business district in downtown Kingston this year," mayor of Kingston, Desmond McKenzie, said.
"It is an event that is put on by the city, but it is not an event that is exclusive for the city because people came from all over the country and participate," the mayor added.
He encouraged persons to participate in the event as it will be a safe zone to shop.
"Last year, we had an incident-free day in downtown Kingston. There was not one report of robbery, and we want to repeat it this year because we want people to understand that downtown is the heartbeat of Jamaica; this is where it matters most, and it is our intention to continue the revitalisation of the area," he added.
Terry-Ann Wilson, Gleaner corporate affairs officer, said the organisation is happy to be part of the shopping promotion for a second year.
"Last year's event was a resounding success and we look forward to again doing our part in promoting the revitalisation of downtown Kingston through this special shopping promotion," she said.
The vendors are pleased with the move, saying that it is a boost for their businesses.
"It is a good way to help us to make some money for the Christmas because normally things slow," said Sherlette Robinson, a vendor on King Street.
Persons are urged to grab their copy of the Downtown Comes Alive shopping guide, which will be published in the Tuesday Gleaner next week. 'Christmas in the City' will take place on Wednesday.