Trench Town gets tourism boost with renovated centre
The renovated Trench Town Entertainment Space was handed over to residents recently as part of a mandate to restore the community to its former fame with added benefits to the residents.
Following the demolition of informal structures, a perimeter wall, seven shops, and a sidewalk were erected as part of the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo) Spruce up ‘Pon De Corner’ programme.
Speaking at the handover of the park recently, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett highlighted that the project, budgeted at $40 million, was completed in two phases at a total cost of $39.7 million.
“I encourage you to use it to the best of your ability for both recreational and productive purposes. Take the time to find your skills and see how best you can contribute to your own personal growth and that of your country,” he said.
TOURISM FOR LOCALS
He added that the renovation of the park is part of 60-odd projects that will be rolled out islandwide to repackage tourism for the attraction and benefits of locals.
The other projects are in the concept and planning phase and are a response to the need to reset the refocus of the industry.
“The space is intended to be used as a venue for cultural performances in the vicinity of the Trench Town community tourism cluster,” said the Acting Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCO), Stephen Edwards.
The park will operate as a green space and a central point of sale for local products such as food and craft from the Trench Town Ceramics and Arts Centre. With Trench Town reportedly trending on Airbnb, they intend to invest in the culture and potential for livelihoods for residents by attracting tourists who are staying in hotels in the Kingston area.
In his address, Member of Parliament and Opposition Leader Mark Golding aired his appeal to the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation to the ‘Wailers House’ where Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer grew up: “We need to restore that museum. Right now, the memorabilia, and so on, are at Bunny’s house, which is not in the community, and Bunny wants to bring it in the community,” he said.
In addition to job-creation opportunities, TPDCo will be including the residents of Trench Town in training on customer service, tourism awareness, professional conduct, modules from their flagship Team Jamaica course, and COVID-19 sensitisation for the proper execution of protocols.
Located directly across from the Trench Town Culture Yard, a national heritage site, the Vin Lawrence Park on First Street, now the Trench Town Entertainment Space, is known to host myriad concerts and entertainment events, including the annual Bob Marley festivals that usually last from February 3-6.
One of the recipients of a shop, Dorreth Campbell, has been selling along the park for 30 years. Campbell said that so far, her stretch on the corner has been rich with experiences - from providing breakfast to children in the community to selling at every event that happens in the community.
“This way more better. Mi happy fi di upgrade to concrete structure with windows and doors,” said the mother of three while twirling in her new shop.