Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor
THE CALLS are growing louder for the Government to pay special attention to the Kingston waterfront as part of any plan to redevelop downtown Kingston.
With the waterfront remaining a popular hangout spot for scores of persons who visit for its beauty as much as the cooling sea breeze, residents of downtown Kingston last week urged the authorities to focus on the area.
Inez Stora has operated a stall by the waterfront for more than 20 years and has memories of when the area was humming with hundreds of visitors daily.
"My second son is 27 years old, an' mi deh yah from before him left primary school," Stora told The Gleaner.
"You still have people coming down here come cool out, but not as much as before. Sometimes someone just feel depressed or down, so dem just come cool out at the waterfront, drink a beer or a sky-juice or something and dem feel better," added Stora.
DECLINE IN VISITORS
She said the decline in visitors started when the Port Royal ferry was discontinued.
"From the ferry stop run, everything just dead back and cut off, because normally the ferry would attract people who want to go Port Royal."
Stora said her earnings from the small stall sent her three children through high school, but more importantly, the area was a picnic spot for the family.
"You see when me did have my first two kids, it was a pleasure for me to buy some little snacks, juice and water and we would sit down and dem would just throw stones in the water," said Stora.
"Them used to call down here Greenfield because the grass was just green and pretty. So it was just a pleasure to spread out a towel or a sheet and you just lay down and eat yuh dinner or whatever."
At that time, her young children were able to romp with children from families who lived in upper St Andrew and even visitors to the island.
"Yuh used to find a lot of tourist and other people from uptown. Don't think about Half-Way Tree and New Kingston because Emancipation Park wasn't around at that time, just (Kingston) Mall and downtown."
Stora argued that if the waterfront is returned to its previous vibrancy, it could create well-needed earning opportunities for persons in the area.
"Even people like myself, as a single parent, could get a little hustling and help to send we children to school."
Stora said not even the fear of crime caused people to avoid the waterfront in downtown.
"It not any more dangerous than anywhere else in Jamaica, or New York or anywhere else in the world. The waterfront safe, and even at nights you see people park dem car down here and nothing happen to dem," declared a man as he butted into the conversation while buying items from Stora's stall.