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City planners eye PhP3.1 billion for Burnham upgrade

MAJOR REHAB. The city’s main attraction, the Burnham Park, will need PhP3.1 billion to upgrade and develop it in an effort to attract foreign and local tourists to the city that will help spur economic activity heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Here, the biking area with the Burnham Lake and the Baguio City Hall as background. Pigeon Lobien / RNG Luzon

The city will be needing a whopping PhP3.1 billion to fully rehabilitate and upgrade the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex.

City Planning and Development Officer Arch. Donna R. Tabangin said the fund will upgrade the park that may entice more foreign and domestic visitors here and help revive the local economy that was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

During her presentation to city officials, Tabangin said the proposed comprehensive master development plan of Burnham Park with the corresponding cost for the proposed rehabilitation and upgrading of various portions of the premier tourist destination in the city as she sought for possible consideration and approval.

The proposed comprehensive master development plan will serve as the blueprint for future developments that will be introduced in the different areas of the park, Tabganin said.

Development of the park will be jumpstarted by the P480 million funding from Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) that will go to the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Rose Garden, Burnham Lake and the children’s park, aside from improvements in other areas of the city’s premier tourist destination.

The partial upgrading of identified portions of the Burnham Park will be done as soon as TIEZA will release the committed funding which administrator Bonifacio dela Pena said could be by January next year.

He added that this was delayed as the money was realigned for the country’s battle against the Covid.

The city, on the other hand, will implement several locally funded projects that include the construction of the Baguio Youth Convergence Center and Sports Complex, the put up of several parking structures, and the improvement of the Baguio tennis court.

Said master development plan will be transmitted to the city council for approval.

Meanhile, the city will also submit same development to concerned government agencies in order to avail of funding that will be used to improve the Melvin Jones football field, skating rink, Pines Trees of the World, among other areas.

It was former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who issued Executive Order No. 695 in 2008 that bestowed to the city government the full authority to administer, manage and operate the Burnham Pak complex, the national government’s gift to the city during its centennial anniversary celebration on September 1, 2009.

Tabangin said the development plan was based on the master plan of American Architect Daniel Burnham, who prepared the master plan of the city in the early 1900s.

The city is also expected to replace the tartan track of the Baguio Athletic Bowl to conform to the prescribed international standards of track ovals to allow the city to host track and field competitions.

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