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Feb 10, 2016

Mayor Bradley and Urban Planners Looking to Spruce Up Yarborough

The Yarborough area of the City is poised to get a facelift that will be spurring economic activity. While the neighborhood boasts of many attributes, it does not have in place to adequate infrastructure to bring the boom. Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley has brought in a team of U.S. experts to spruce up Yarborough. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Yarborough Community is considered a hotspot for criminal activities in the Old Capital, unsafe and abandoned. But it is also an area that boasts many historical landmarks including the Yarborough Cemetery, the Anglican Cathedral, a vault, parks, schools and sporting facilities. But the lack of proper urban planning robs the area of its true potential. The City Council has embarked on the redevelopment of Yarborough as part of its master plan for the city.

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“What we want to do is incorporate, along with other governmental agencies as much as we can in relation to the development of downtown but also additional areas which, but the sea so that the Yarborough area which we think will be ideal for that kind of funding support. I’ve always found that this community is perfect because you have a good and when we choose areas for intervention, you are looking at community support. This area has several very renowned churches in Belize. You have the Anglican Cathedral, you have the Methodist church which is very active including Wesley College; you have a lot of schools in this community, you have organic level of businesses within the community. You have Mapye who is very involved in community kind of projects and so forth. So when you look at an area for intervention you want to ensure that there is a vibrant community and artifact that you want to maintain and preserve and one of the selling points in this particular area is there is so much anchor in relation to having a vibrant community here; schools, churches, businesses, residents who want to see their community move forward.”

 

On Tuesday, three expert city planners from the American Planning Association arrived in country. Throughout the next couple of days, the consultants will visit with residents and stakeholders and look at the current landscape of the Yarborough Community, before making recommendations to for the appropriate redevelopment plan for the area.

 

Justin Moore

Justin Moore, Urban Designer/Planner, American Planning Association [File: February 9th, 2016]

“The idea is to take those broad topics—social and environmental concerns—and look really at the Yarborough neighborhood in particular to help develop specific goals by going to the sites, looking at the conditions, talking to people and really understanding the context so that we can make more specific recommendations. This first team is really looking at the lay of the land and understanding what the issues of stakeholders area and we’ll come back with multiple experts; so people from different backgrounds and different types of expertise later in the year and where we’ll do more detailed recommendations.”

 

According to Bradley, the success of the redevelopment project will be based on community participation. The vision of the council is to focus on the historical landmarks within the community.

 

Darrell Bradley

“Our main focus is to increase the historic character itself has a lot of natural treasures and artifacts in terms of telling the story of Belize City. But I think that it is often times overlooked and I mean I grew up near to here and I look at Yarborough Cemetery as a place that I often look to with some degree of reverence and I think that we can bring back the Yarborough area, including the cemetery and making it really like a focal point. I mean when you are walking through the cemetery, at the end of the cemetery you have a play yard beyond form that you have the St John’s Cathedral, right next to that you have the House of Culture and you have a Cemetery right beyond the bridge by eat and west Collet Canal which we look at especially with the crypts and the…actually when I went there, I didn’t even know that was a cemetery and these are the things, I am the Mayor of the city, grown up in Belize City and I don’t know the significance of particular areas.”

 

Zoning will also be a vital aspect of the project.

 

Darrell Bradley

“When you look at Belize City and when I look at Belize City and I see that the northern highway would be a business district so that would support banks and insurance companies and have the road way there, the networks and then you have parking so that it is easily conducive of those types of venture. and then you look at areas like these in terms of the downtown and Fort George and Albert which would be more the historic districts, the tourism and entertainment center for the city and then what you would do is you would develop Belize City around economic cluster zones. Like commercial district or like a historic and entertainment zone and then of course you are incorporating economic activity, small businesses and then concerns from residents and you can zone the City properly from that.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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