Urban renewal in slow take-off

HARARE - While the urban renewal and adoption of streets took off last year with several companies promising to spruce up the city centre, very little can be seen on the ground.

Harare City Council mayor Herbert Gomba introduced the urban renewal project as a way of improving the Central Business District’s outlook.

Gomba said the city had deteriorated and was no longer attracting visitors and shoppers, with many residents preferring affluent shopping centres in low density suburbs.

The mayor said while First Street was Harare’s premier shopping area, it was now being abandoned.

“We need to be able to attract quality goods and restaurants in the street. Once we inject life into First Street, we hope the spirit of rejuvenation will catch up with all property owners in Harare. Some companies have also come on board expressing interest in Samora Machel and also adopting Julius Nyerere Way,” Gomba said.

City parking adopted Julius Nyerere and began works in November which they are still conducting along the street.

Econet Wireless took over the First Street project.

City Parking general manager Simon Muzviyo said the rehabilitation of Julius Nyerere was an on-going project which was unfortunately affected by the economic challenges in the country.

“We may have wanted to finish the whole street between December and January but the project was stalled by financial difficulties which are not with us. We are trying to juggle and balance between the street maintenance and our parking duties to the city,” Muzviyo said.

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said some of the repairs to the adopted streets and roads were still being done.

“For the roads that we are renovating like part of Julius Nyerere and Samora Machel, works are continuous but because of the rains they may be delayed. Roads that were adopted by corporates I cannot answer for them unfortunately,” Chideme said.