The Paslow building, which was one of Belize’s historic buildings, was built in the 1920’s and started off as a retail store. It later became the post office building, before it was burnt down in in the early 2000’s. For years, it was just a parking lot utilized by many in the congested downtown streets, but now the Paslow Building will be replaced as a part of the Downtown Rejuvenation Project. Community Liaison Officer for the project, Albert Avila, told us the plans for the new and improved building.
Albert Avila – Community Liaison Officer, Downton Rejuvenation Project: “It is good location for us to reinvest, to invest because when we look at downtown and turning downtown into an eco-museum the Paslow site will be sort of a welcome center so as visitors come down let’s say from the cruise ships or tourist areas they will be able to stop at Paslow. In that area we will be able to promote what they will see once they come into downtown which is Albert St. and Regent St. which will be our ecomuseum so they will be able to get like brochures, they will be able to see maps, they will be able to see the different tours that will be available and we have people that will explain things to them. Basically the building won’t take up the whole lot, it will be shaped sort of like an L which it will lye on North Front St. and Queen St. In our engagement meetings that we had with the community, a lot of people were saying well if you are going to have a place where you are going to have vendors you have to have parking because then when people come that area is congested and then there is no parking. The back of the building will still have parking, there will be enough space there for at least twelve vehicles. You know the main area of that ground floor of the building will be for the welcome center, we are going to have booths for vendors, the second floor we were thinking about putting a Cafe up there and also we will have some rooms there for offices as well.”
The Downtown Rejuvenation Project aims to turn the historic and cultural downtown area of Belize City in an “Economic Museum,” an area where tourists will be more attracted to. Avila also told us about the other buildings that are being rejuvenated as a part of the project.
Albert Avila – Community Liaison Officer, Downton Rejuvenation Project: “All of our historic sites are in downtown Belize City so as Belize City started to expand, Downtown has lost its drawing power so to speak and people started to move out. That has been causing downtown to die gradually and because of its historic significance, the Ministry thought well we can’t continue to let that happen. The Human Development building, we are rebuilding that and that will continue to work with women, to teach women crafts and do various things with women. The second floor will continue to be used for the human development offices and the third floor we are looking at putting in training rooms and conference rooms for the community. The next building that we are building right now is on Colborne Lane, that is behind Anglican Cathedral, the church, that was owned by Ronald Frederick Greenwood. The new building that we are putting there is going to look similar to what was there and that will be basically on the ground floor, that will be a restaurant, pub, cocktail lounge sort of thing and the second floor will be a museum to Mr. Fredrick which we will promote the work that he did. Currently, we are also repairing the Government house which will become a new museum for downtown Belize City, we are rebuilding a new House of Culture on the same property. In a month or so we will probably be starting with the Yabra, we already built the Basketball Court at Yabra and now we are going to redo the football field and make that area a little bit more welcoming. Repair the areas where the sea is to prevent it from erosion, put some chairs, put some trees, put some better walking pedestrian walkways and like I said repairing the football field so that will be the last project that we will be working on.”
The contractor for the Paslow Building is Eric Martinez, and he began to work on it last month. The entire Downtown Project is expected to finish in May 2020./////////////