BAGUIO CITY – The city government and interested private partners need at least P230 million to rehabilitate the Botanical Garden that would encompass the ‘walk through time concept’ which would boost the robust growth of the local tourism industry and contribute in providing added attractions for foreign and domestic visitors frequenting the city.
Arch. Maria Criselda Perez-Soriano, project coordinator of the rehabilitation of Botanical Garden and professor of the Department of Architecture, School of Engineering and Architecture of the St. Louis University (SLU), said light improvements of the Botanical Garden would cost the city or prospective developers P68 million, P148 million for moderate development and P230 million for a full-blown and extensive development for the over 34,000-square meter developable area.
Soriano said the 1.6-kilometer walk through area would be divided into eleven clusters that will feature the different era that the city had gone through since it was discovered by the Americans as a city on a hill.
However, the architect cited the development will involve the recovery of certain portions of the Botanical Garden that were titled and were built upon so that the project will be feasible considering that it would provide added attractions for park goers.
Soriano assured city officials that their services will still be available for the local government in the refinement of the plan for it to be suitable for the current trend of the times in order to sustain the preservation and protection of the park from informal settlers and the massive illegal cutting of trees.
Soriano presented to the city council the overall plan for the proposed rehabilitation of the Botanical Garden in order for the adoption of the plan that would be beneficial to the greater interest of the populace and visitors alike.
The committee on tourism and special events recommended for the adoption of the ‘walk through time concept’ for the realization of the project either through the utilization of local funds or subjecting the same through private-public partnership through interested developers.
Soriano said there will be several adjustments that would be made on the plan considering the state of the park since the time of the preparation of the concept and the plan several years ago, thus, the need to preserve and protect the remaining trees and enhance he state of the forest cover through the increased number of trees within the forest reservation.
Among the included works in the proposed P230 million project are the put up of art works depicting the different era that the city underwent for over a decade, the installation of appropriate electrical wiring and sound systems along the walk through time area, provision of adequate lighting for the park and the facelift of the different areas of the park.
Soriano cited it would now be up to the city government whether to bankroll the realization of the project or subject the same through PPP for the benefit of improving the state of the park and providing tourists with new attractions that will be offered for the increasing number of tourists frequenting the city every weekend.