Bahrain to build culture centre for elderly
Manama, October 3, 2011
A cultural centre for the elderly that showcases traditional handicrafts and other professions as well as offers recreation facilities and entertainment is being planned in a major public park in Bahrain.
Plans for a special café for pensioners were originally incorporated in revamps to the Casino Public Park, but were scrapped by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry.
It said earlier that the decision was due to fears that the place would be turned into a facility that was exclusively for the elderly rather than serve families in general.
The garden the Grand Muharraq Garden was at one time set to be turned into a 'miniature Disneyland', but the plans were later shelved.
New designs are currently in the final stages and they will be submitted to the Muharraq Municipal Council for review.
Plans to pump BD19 million ($50.4 million) into the Grand Muharraq Garden were scrapped in April last year after the investor missed three deadlines to start work.
However, the council is now planning to use his BD180,000 deposit to equip the garden with family rest areas, playground equipment and a walkway.
The cultural centre, which will be run by the Bahrain Home for Parents Care, will be funded by Diyar Al Muharraq that originally proposed having the cafŽ in the park.
"Two stalled projects are finally going to happen at the same time after years of waiting," said council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed.
"It was sad to have the cafŽ scrapped and at the same time see the investor miss out on the miniature Disneyland project in the Grand Muharraq Garden, but things are set to change.”
"I was happy that the ministry considered having new designs for the garden a few months ago, which are in the final stages, but what has made me happier is incorporating a cultural centre for the elderly. This is good news for the elderly who will now have a place to showcase their products and also enjoy their time with traditional music and games,” he added.
He said that Diyar Al Muharraq had already backed the plan, confirming that their original offer was still there.
"We are currently negotiating with the ministry to get the deal signed officially, so Diyar Al Muharraq can go on with the necessary procedures."
Al Mahmeed said that the new plans for the garden were better than the original with the addition of the centre.
"This garden is the closest to Bahrain International Airport and it should give a good impression to visitors," he said. "It is true that the investor has harmed us badly with backing down from the contract, but it is not the end of the road as we have now come up with other plans for the place."
The Kuwait-based Salah Al Rumaih Group was behind the miniature Disneyland project, but the Muharraq Municipality sought the council's approval to withdraw the project in June 2009.
It said delays in starting work had put the project four months behind schedule and claimed the investor changed the agreed designs. – TradeArabia News Service
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