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20.11.2008 Regional News

Major facelift for Kumasi Children`s Park

By Issah Alhassan, Kumasi - Ghanaian Chronicle

PLANS ARE far afoot to ensure the resuscitation and transformation of the now defunct Children's Park at Amakom in Kumasi, into an ultra modern centre to cater for the recreational and educational needs of children in the metropolis.

The renovation of the park, which is being sponsored by the Serwaa Ampem Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) operated by Her Royal Highness, Lady Julia Osei Tutu, wife of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), is expected to cost over GH¢50 million, and would involve the construction of a modern administration block, a 900-capacity amphitheatre with an ultra modern library, and a commercial block, made up of pavilions, to attract business and commercial activities.

The replica of the project, which was designed by Envest Holding, a consortium of architectural consultants, in collaboration with the Architectural Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), would also include a social site for the disabled, a museum, and other facilities needed to make the centre more attractive to both foreign and local tourists.

The now dilapidated children's recreational centre, established in the late 1980's as an entertainment ground for children in the metropolis, has currently been encroached by drug addicts and other social miscreants, who use the place as a safe haven for their criminal activities.

Currently, part of the 10.9 acre land is covered with bushes harbouring all forms of dangerous creatures, which pose threats to the safety of the children, while the old library and amphitheatre, named after the Asantehemaa (Queenmother of Ashanti), Nana Afua Serwaa Kobi Ampem, have received little or no maintenance.

The horrendous nature of the building, therefore, compelled the wife of the Asantehene, Lady Julia, to solicit for funds to renovate the facility, with support from the KMA, to provide a befitting recreational centre for children in the metropolis.

Presenting a model of the project in a PowerPoint presentation, the chief architect, Mr. Aiden Ayebin Botwe, said the strategic position of the centre, which is located within the heart of the city, makes it imperative for its renovation, since it would attract the needed patronage, and also improve the horticultural and infrastructural beauty of the city.

Meanwhile, the sponsors of the project have received financial assistance of GH¢5,000 from the Mother and Child Foundation, a non-governmental organization owned and operated by the First Lady, Mrs. Theresa Kufuor, towards the project.

At a presentation ceremony held at the Manhyia Palace, Mrs. Kufuor said she was overwhelmed by the initiative of the Serwaa Ampem Foundation and the KMA, after watching the PowerPoint presentation, and urged the two organisations not to relent in their efforts to ensure the completion of the project.

She as well pledged her organisation's total support for the project.