Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Melrose yam park project on hold due to highway realignment

Published:Wednesday | February 8, 2023 | 12:05 AM
Kevin Frith, CEO of Ideas Execution Limited.
Kevin Frith, CEO of Ideas Execution Limited.

Plans for the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Melrose Hill yam park are on hold.

This as a delay in the completion of the Williamsfield leg of Highway 2,000 has halted progress on the upgrade, according to concessionaire Kevin Frith.

Through one of his companies, Ideas Execution, Frith secured a concession from the Manchester Municipal Corporation to operate the yam park which had fallen on hard times. In the past week, a small company called iCreate Limited has announced plans to acquire 100 per cent of Ideas Execution Limited, in exchange for Frith taking a stake in iCreate.

Melrose Hill Yam Park is a must-stop for lovers of roasted yam or sweet potatoes, which are served slathered with butter and roasted salt fish.

Frith had outlined plans for the upgrading of the facilities, including improvements to the stalls and restrooms, and the inclusion of a bar and a car wash.

The project began in May 2022 and was slated for completion last December at a projected cost of $12 million, a realignment of Section 1C of Highway 2000 took in a part of the land earmarked for the project, and led to delays, according to Frith. The Melrose rest-stop upgrade is on hold in the meantime, he said.

“They are making some changes and as it is now, I’m not clear where the entrance will be. It was one thing before and now it has changed to the extent that they’ve even taken some of the land,” he said.

“So far we’ve spent about $2.5 million. We’re waiting until the end of the month to hear from the contractors and then once they give the green light, it’s full speed ahead,” he added.

With the delay, business is down to a trickle at the yam park. Checks with vendors reveal a daily grind for survival, having to make do with the reduced business from one-way traffic. Frith says he’s waived stall fees since October 2022 with the understanding that they will be reinstituted once the upgrading project is completed.