Wilson welcomes announcement for development of Negril park
WILSON… the park was a lively place where locals would go to the beach

NEGRIL, Westmoreland — Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Western Morland Wilson has welcomed the announcement by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett that the underutilised Norman Manley Beach Park, which has become an eyesore in Negril, is earmarked to be transformed into a public access facility that will provide much-needed green space for recreational activity.

Wilson had long called for the transformation of the park which has been closed to the public for over a decade.

"The Negril community and Westmoreland as a whole are very concerned about the Negril [Norman Manley] Beach Park. The park was a lively place where locals would go to the beach, but it had been closed for about 15 years. Several proposals and plans were presented during that time, but none were implemented," he told the Jamaica Observer West.

According to the first-time member of parliament, the park, which was once an iconic attraction in the resort town, is now a haven for drug addicts, sex workers and other criminal elements.

He said as a result of the closure of the facility, residents and visitors who once patronised the park for recreational purposes, have nowhere else to "chill out" on weekends or after work during the week.

He noted that the beach park in its glory days significantly enhanced the aesthetic of the resort town.

Wilson had called on the Ministry of Tourism, the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo), and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), to develop the park with recreational areas similar to Harmony Park in Montego Bay, adding that he had received several pledges of support for the park's development.

During a ceremony to unveil a $12-m sign welcoming travellers to Negril earlier this month, Bartlett said the transformation of the park is among several public spaces in the resort town that are expected to get attention.

"We are going to be revisiting the public spaces of Negril. The first one that I have given instruction for is the beach park. We are putting together, in the first instance, somewhere in the region of a quarter-million dollars to begin the process of transforming it to look as Harmony Park looks in Montego Bay," stated Bartlett, who noted that the St James-based park will be the prototype for other such facilities to be constructed islandwide.

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