By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
The Downtown Management Authority (DMA) will bring back the charm of Downtown Nassau as the current Revitalisation Unit in the Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation (MOTIA) will “morph” into this new authority, Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper said yesterday.
Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation, said at the Office of the Prime Minister’s weekly press conference that the DMA Bill will be brought to parliament when it reconvenes on October 4.
The DMA Bill allow for monies to be allocated for the new entity as it will be responsible for “parking the upkeep of facilities, the management of derelict buildings, addressing stakeholder matters in terms of ownership and encouraging the upkeep of storefronts and buildings in the downtown area,” Mr Cooper said.
He said: “The reality of it is that there has to be some authority with some teeth to bring focus and bring back the old charm of downtown Nassau. Nassau reimagined as we call it, we’re hoping that this body will in fact be allocated some funding and that’s a matter for the cabinet to determine. But there’s opportunity perhaps through the tourism development fund levee there will be an opportunity for the overall management of downtown through this authority.
“We anticipate that perhaps the Revitalisation unit of the Ministry of Tourism will morph into this authority.”
Downtown Nassau is going through a renaissance with the opening up of the Nassau Cruise Port. The proposed DMA will seek to take the Downtown area to its next phases of development.
Other initiatives include the pedestrianisation of the Market Slope block, where the MOTIA believes it will drive more foot traffic and customers to Bay Street and Straw Market vendors.
Mr Cooper said about the Market Slope: “We’ve increased police presence so that is safer and more pleasant. We’re also closing off Market Slope, that’s the street on the side of the Straw Market and we’ll be creating more high-end creatively-designed loops with Bahamian themes and authentically Bahamian products being offered.”
East Bay Street will also be undergoing changes in the upcoming months as plans to invite artisans to enhance its ambiance is already under way. “We’re working along with entrepreneurs to get involved because we want more activities downtown. We have an overall plan for downtown especially for east of East Street and we anticipate some significant new developments in this area to be announced shortly, including a food market that will also cater to the creative community, as well as other significant initiatives, working along with our partners in the creative arts community,” Mr Cooper said.