SPTC attempts to relocate local Vendors
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
The craft vendors who, for many years had been stationed at the Central Park, have been informed by The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) that they need to relocate. The move has been long coming, and in June of this year, it was officially announced that before 2015 was over, the vendors were going to be moved to the Sunset Board Walk. Authorities from the SPTC reportedly told the vendors that they were to relocate by Monday, November 30th. However, the vendors do not want to move, as they argue that the new location is not viable for business and the conditions are not what they were promised.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, December 1st by the SPTC, the general public was informed of the artisans’ relocation, which was expected to be before the Christmas Season. However in order to get the right measures in place, the artisants will now be relocated on the first working day of 2016. The release continues to say that after a meeting between the SPTC and the artisans, some of them were placed on the beach, directly in front of the park. This was done to ensure that the vendors were not disenfranchised for the Christmas Season. With this delay, the SPTC will have enough time to ensure the new area where the artisans will move to when is completed with the right facilities as originally envisioned.
In Volume 15, Issue #28 of The San Pedro Sun, in a story titled “SPTC details updates on The Sunset Boardwalk Boulevard,” Mayor Daniel Guerrero had indicated that the vendors from the Central Park were to be provided with colorful booths along the Boardwalk. “We will have the Mennonites build the booths and then bring them to the island on the barge, where we will proceed with giving them a touch of beautification before they are distributed. They will have different colors, something similar to what has been done in the Bahamas,” said Guerrero at the time.
According to the vendors, they do not feel optimistic about the advantages businesswise with the new location. They demand what was promised, proper facilities, a good marketing plan, and most importantly, parking space for their customers. The vendors added that some time ago, Guerrero told them that he was not going to move them until everything was ready at the Sunset Boardwalk. They are now upset that they are required to relocate when nothing has been prepared. They are willing to move if and when the adequate conditions are provided as promised by Mayor Guerrero.
The press release also states that the new artisan area will occupy part of the open space directly in front of the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex and the space will eventually be transformed into the official artisan area. According to the release, this will be the first phase of the project and priority will be given to the legally operating park vendors. The second phase of the projects calls for the relocation of beach and street artisans and consequently the third phase will relocate the food vendors from the Central Park. The release also explains that since a good presentation is needed to attract more visitors, the SPTC is in the processing of drafting an operational guideline that each artisan will be expected to uphold if they desire to conduct business in the new location.
In addition, the SPTC has commenced the process to have various open structures built and each artisan will be allowed with equal space to operate. The structure will be equipped with proper electrification, bathrooms for the artisans and night security. The release added that the SPTC will be unveiling measures that will be taken to direct tourists and visitors to the new vendors’ area. When the process is complete, no vendors will be allowed at the park, and any other persons selling in public areas will be relocated to the official site.
Guerrero admitted that it might be challenging at the beginning, but according to him it has and will work. “All the hotels will direct their customers to where the vendors are, the taxi drivers will also know where they are, people driving around will see them as well, and we will have banners and signs directing everyone to their new location. So it will benefit them and with music entertainment on weekends, things will eventually work,” stated Guerrero. He added that the fact that the San Pedro House of Culture sits in the same area, it will increase the potential for business as well.
The Central Park will soon be undergoing significant changes as part of a beautification project. The project will include the separation of the church area from the park itself, the installation of a wall that will block the clubs, a painted mural to represent life in San Pedro and the construction of a fountain as well. At the end of the refurbishing, the park will be child friendly and more pleasant for residents and visitors with the features of a real park.
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