THE stalled rehabilitation of the city’s Burnham Park is back on the docket after the State-owned Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and tourism officers have once again committed to fund the project.
According to Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the TIEZA and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat have committed the release of some P480 million worth of funding for the project, provided that Baguio relaxes travel restrictions to enable tourist flow into the city.
Some P400 million worth of funding for the rehabilitation project of Burnham Park, based on the city’s development plans, was earlier committed through an agreement between Puyat and Magalong.
However, the funds were withheld by the government as it was realigned.
Meanwhile, TIEZA also previously postponed the project to focus instead on combating the COVID-19 threat, leaving the project suspended for the foreseeable future.
Plans for the project were submitted to the TIEZA, and will now be used as the TIEZA is now able to shift focus away from the pandemic and back onto the project.
The P400 million project is only part of a more ambitious P2 billion overhaul for the entirety of Burnham Park and the Athletic Bowl.
Included in the plans are provisions for an underground parking area beneath the creative arts center, while traffic management will be consulted to see where traffic can still be accommodated in the area.
The rehabilitation project would also include improvements in the loading bays for the park’s boating businesses, a sunken seating area adjacent to the lake, and overall improvement of the walkways and landscaping.
The library, meanwhile, is expected to be transferred to the City Auditorium in accordance with a proposed modernization project by Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales, which would require a larger space for the library.
Under the plan, vendors in the park will be screened as well, and only “park-related products” will be allowed to continue their business.
Additionally, improvements within the skating rink, old orchidarium, part of the Baguio Athletic Bowl, Ibaloi Heritage Garden, Igorot Park and Rose Garden will be funded alongside the park’s redevelopment through the extra P80 million committed by the TIEZA and the tourism department.