A new Fort street

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By L.K. Hewlett

St. Kitts Reporter

After the overwhelming response to the beautification of Fort Street for Cricket World Cup, decision makers are contemplating the next move with regard to busy avenue.

Minister of State responsible for Tourism, Sport and Culture Hon. Richard Skerritt said that he was amazed that even the doubters had responded so positively about the transformation.

“This was an experiment that has turned out wonderfully. We diverted from the original plan to line the street with vending booths because we realised that it would take away from the beauty. The vendors were relocated to the Independence Square, which in itself has added to making the Square a hangout spot during and after the games. We were ecstatic that the plans turned out so well,” Skerritt beamed.

“If the vendors had been put on Fort Street as was the initial design, stalls would have had to be erected along the sidewalk. The businesses on the street have just invested in the repaving and upgrading of those pavements and to cover them with booths would have taken away from the beautiful stonework that was recently done. Also the booths would have impeded foot traffic on the street as well as blocked those businesses that are located on the strip.”

The Minister said that quite a number of people had been commenting that Fort Street, dubbed Co-operation Avenue, should remain the way it is. Some had suggested that the same transformation should be applied for other celebratory periods such as Carnival and Music Festival.

“We have to look at these proposals from many different angles. It’s one thing to shut the street down for a few days compared to having it permanently shut off to vehicular traffic. Any decision on such a matter would have to incorporate the input of all stakeholders including the business people on Fort Street,” he said.

Skerritt gave much deserved kudos to the business community along Co-operation Avenue for their willingness to collaborate with the government in the beautification project. This he said, demonstrated a resurgence of civic pride that he hoped would continue to flourish long after CWC 2007.

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