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Re-Shaping the Yarborough Area of the Old Capital

The American Planning Association is back in Belize to work on their intervention for the Yaborough area in Belize City. The last time the group was in Belize was in February to start a survey plan in order to re-develop neighborhoods in Belize. The survey project is in collaboration with the Belize City Council and the Inter-American Development Bank. Today Mayor Darrell Bradley spoke to the media about one of the main purposes of the project.

DARRELL BRADLEY:  “The City Council is working on a series of activities in partnership with the IDB and the American Planning Association to really emphasize the sustainable development goals. One of the real points of the sustainable development goals and a specific goal is to make cities more livable and we’ve spoken a lot about the idea of urban planning, there has been a lot of interest in terms of zoning and capacity building and one of the things that we recognize is that the City Council is very limited in terms of its capacities. One of the main purposes in terms of their visit is to get feedback from members of the community so a series of meetings have been held over the last week in relation to engaging various members of our community, members of the government, members of the business community, young people, personnel from the Belize City Council in relation to ensuring that the report that is being put together is something that has much as possible coming from all the relevant stakeholders within our community.”

Mayor Bradley says this is the first time the team is working on an international project but he told us why he has confidence in the team.

DARRELL BRADLEY: “It’s the first international project that the American Planning Association has been involved in, they are a very significant organization in the US, 40,000 strong and they do lot of work in the United States but we are very grateful and appreciative of their time in really choosing Belize as being the first international project that they really have been involved in and all of their work in coming to Belize before in terms of the smaller trip and then also now bringing the entire time all of that is volunteer work that they are giving to the city, the city council itself and the people of Belize City so we are very grateful to them for investing the time and energy.”

Justin Moore is the team leader of the American Planning Association group in Belize. His main focus is to get the community involved in the planning process which will later benefit them. He spoke on how he plans to accomplish this.

JUSTIN MOORE: We’re really excited to have that and to really solicit more people to come and be involved in the development in the future of their neighborhoods. We’ve done our initial visits, we’ve shared some ideas last night for general topics that we’ve explored in the Yabra community, things like flood and hazard medication, the idea of improved parks and open spaces and streetscape, what you can do for the historic buildings, places and really incorporating that into the planning and identity of the neighborhood and city going forward but at the same time there are other real challenges such as economic development; how do you provide new job opportunities with the changing and the development of the city. How can you improve public safety and addressing issues that people have around the activities for young people.”

Residents of the area should expect to see the team in the area for the rest of the week and on Saturday.