The government has signed a lease agreement with Harcourt Development for two acres on its Royal Oasis Property.
Harcourt Development is the owner of the now dilapidated Royal Oasis Property, which includes the Casino, Towers and Country Club.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Iram Lewis, Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama made the announcement on Saturday, (July 17), noting that the terms of agreement allow for the use and development of two acres of the garden/lawn area on the property.
“This is an exciting day in Central Grand Bahama and of course, in Grand Bahama. The property that we are now sitting on is the heartbeat of Grand Bahama and one of its most popular spots. We thought that it was important for us to renovate and clean up this area, once again, beautifying it.
“We have entered into an agreement with Harcourt, through Mr. Donald Archer and his team, locally in Grand Bahama; the Ministry for Grand Bahama, under the leadership of Mr. Kwasi Thompson (Minister of State for Grand Bahama) and his Permanent Secretary, Harcourt Brown; to actively engage in discussing with Harcourt, to turn this property over, if only for a short period of time, to the Bahamian public,” Lewis said.
Harcourt Development owners agreed to the initiative.
“We have a lease that is being finalized. It has already been signed by Harcourt and is now at the Treasury Department. As soon as that is done, we will bring it back to Grand Bahama for an official signing. We just want the public to know that this property, two acres of the garden itself, will be turned over to the Bahamian people on Grand Bahama for our use and will be called The Grand Bahama Community Park.,” he said.
The park, after a cleanup and beautification project headed by Lewis and volunteers, is being used to hold monthly Farmer’s Market.
“We are excited today to be able to have this Farmer’s Market that is spearheaded by members of the Central Grand Bahama Association (CGBA) headed by Ms. Judy Dawkins and her team.
“I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all of the members of the CGBA, who have been putting their heart into this. To members of the public who have been helping us to clean up, thank you all.
“We are excited about this and we hope that all who visit the park will be responsible, keep it clean and take care of what we have, because this can only serve to create a better Grand Bahama,” added Lewis.
Minister of State for Finance Sen. Thompson congratulated Lewis for the initiative.
“This is his brainchild and he started the initiative to clean up and reclaim what once was one of the most beautiful spots in Grand Bahama. He took the initiative and started the clean up program. It was a community effort and we saw the potential in it. We all approached Harcourt, the owners of the entire property, and we were successful in getting Harcourt to agree to lease a portion of the property. They are going to lease a portion of the property for, I believe, $10.00. It is obviously for a nominal amount and so, it is leasing it really at no cost to the government, but it is now available for the public to use as a community park.
“This iconic area is one that, for those of us that grew up in Grand Bahama, was a very important spot. It was a beautiful garden that people used to come and have activities, take pictures and really create memories.
“I know that I, personally, created a number of memories here. This is actually where I proposed to my wife. And so, bringing this area back, really is very special. I believe that it is not only just special for me, but I believe that many people from Grand Bahama will also remember this spot and can appreciate bringing this back,” he said.
Thompson also commended Lewis and his team for organizing the Farmer’s Market.
“It is a beautiful idea in being able to bring the community together, to also bring some economic activity and economic opportunities for the residents and for persons who are here. We have seen it today. We have seen a steady stream of people who have been here and have been able to take advantage.
“Minister Lewis is also focused on ensuring that this is a regular activity and we are very thankful for the participation of the public and of all the vendors.
“We want to thank Harcourt for their cooperation and we want to thank Minister Lewis and his team, all of the members of the public for being here today and we wish them all a successful day.”
Rudy Meadows, a representative of Harcourt Development brought remarks. “On behalf of Harcourt, I would like to thank the ministers and the powers that be, in the area, for allowing us to again be a good corporate citizen in providing this area for you.
“It is a beautiful place and as the minister said there are a lot of memories here. I have one myself, I believe my wife and I were some of the first to have our wedding pictures on the bridge. And so, take advantage of it; we love to see people rather than bush.
“Vendors, please take advantage of this. Bring your wares out and sell them. Members of the public who are not here now, please come out and support them. They need all of the support that they can get.”
The Farmer’s Market is expected to be held on the grounds on a monthly basis.