Bahrain move to revive 'mini-Disneyland' project
Manama, April 22, 2012
Plans to revive a scheme that would turn a public park in Bahrain's Muharraq area into a "miniature Disneyland" is underway - two years after councillors scrapped it.
Councillors have now rallied behind the overhaul of the Grand Muharraq Garden, which has been overrun by stray dogs since plans to pump BD19 million into the park were abandoned in April 2010 after the Kuwaiti investor chosen missed three deadlines to start work.
They have urged local investors to come forward for the tendering in a bid to restore the garden's original glory.
They also want to rename the park after His Majesty King Hamad because it is the first government facility that visitors to the country would come across after leaving Bahrain International Airport.
"We are sending an urgent plea to His Majesty to issue directives to help rescue Muharraq's biggest public park, which has turned into a place overrun by stray dogs rather than a miniature Disneyland due to negligence," said council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed.
"The public still want an international-style park and we as councillors are here to convey their wishes to have that and this is why we are fighting to have the garden revamped.
"The garden's significance is not just its size, but its closeness to the airport and the fact that it is the first municipal facility that visitors take a glance at.
"This is why we want to name it after the King and we have sent a request to the Royal Court to sanction it."
According to the original plans, the project would have featured a variety of rides, landscaping and the country's longest walkway at 1,550 metres.
The design also featured the biggest bowling alley in the Middle East with 45 lanes, which would have been equipped to host international championships.
Other facilities were to include a women's health club, medical centre, restaurants and coffee shops, a hotel with a multipurpose hall and a three-storey car park with a hydraulic elevator for vehicles.
Plans also included a miniature train to transport guests around the park and 14 buses to ferry visitors to the park from Saudi Arabia. The park was also due to have its own ambulance and helicopter on standby, in case of emergencies.
The council last year directed the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry to use the BD180,000 deposit of Kuwait-based Salah Al Rumaih to equip the garden with family rest areas, playground equipment and a walkway, but work never went ahead.
Mr Al Mahmeed revealed that the ministry does not have the required budget to carry out the project and is urging local investors to pitch in to revamp the garden.
"Bahrain has succeeded in having the Bahrain International Circuit built in six months something that has helped attract the F1 and I don't think that an extravagant park can't be built within that period which would certainly be a boost to family tourism not just from neighbouring GCC countries but the world.
"This garden is a chance for Bahrain to develop and what best way for the world to recognise our urbanisation than through the Grand Hamad Park." - TradeArabia News Service