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Uitenhage Market Square upgrade complete

The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) is proud to announce the completion of phases one and two of the Uitenhage CBD upgrade which prioritised the upgrade of the historic Uitenhage Market Square located at the heart of Uitenhage's core.

Construction on site began in January 2010 and was completed 15 months later in March 2011 with 30 jobs created for people from the Uitenhage area created during that period.

Funded by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, the MBDA has spent around R30 million on the upgrade of the Market Square that included the transformation of the space from a parking area to a civic and pedestrian central space. Furthermore, whilst honouring Enoch Sontonga who was born in Uitenhage, various existing monuments were also refurbished. The words of 'NkosiSikelela', composed by Sontonga , now line the fountain in Xhosa, English and Afrikaans to symbolise a new era for Uitenhage. Double rows of trees align the square and a water feature with fountains gives relief to passersby on a hot summer's day. All improvements aim at regaining pride and confidence and promoting the use of the area and investment in it.

MBDA has identified four focus areas to initiate and stimulate the regeneration of the Uitenhage Core area.First priority was given to Market Square, secondly, Caledon Street which acts not only as one of the main shopping areas in Uitenhage, but also plays an important role in transportation.In order to combine these two functions more appropriately, it was necessary to refurbish Caledon Street as well.

The environmental upgrade was also extended into Market and Chase Street where sidewalks were redeveloped. The Railway Sheds were looked at in order to uplift the South-Eastern side of Uitenhage's Core.

Managed by the Uitenhage Despatch Development Initiative (UDDI), an entity of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipalaity, the Railway Sheds should become the catalyst for improvement of this area and should accommodate educational, cultural and entertainment functions, with limited commercial activities.Lastly, The Railway Land was identified. It is a large piece of vacant land, approximately 14ha, between the Volkswagen plant and Uitenhage's Core.

"The formation of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBM) in 2001 united Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch, three towns established during different eras of South African history. Within the new unity created by the NMBM, the need for individual identity for the three component areas remained.

"Within this context MBDA wasmandated to develop a vision for the rehabilitation and redefinition of Uitenhage CBD. The CBD area had suffered the consequences of reduced economic and residential activities" said the MBDA CEO Pierre Voges.

"The completion of the Uitenhage Market Square upgrade is a start to address the economic and social problems faced by Nelson Mandela Bay's oldest town.

The MBDA is excited about the on-going urban renewal projects that are underway in the Nelson Mandela Bay region, as we work towards making Nelson Mandela Bay a world class tourist destination for local, national and international tourists alike" he added.

The MBDA commenced with its work in a Council approved Mandate Area. In December 2007 the Council decided that "based on the considerable experience and capacity built by

the MBDA, the mandate will be extended to other emerging nodes. This has led to the work of the MBDA extending to Uitenhage, the stadium precinct, Telkom Park and Kings Beach node.


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