After seven months of refurbishing and sprucing up, another tourism-oriented project is now open to the public and is anticipated to draw more visitors to this city.
The Kalayaan Park (Freedom Park) is a 1.3-hectare area located in Barangay Gogon that showcases state-of-the-art amenities which cater to people of all ages.
City Architect Rey Acosta, in an interview on Tuesday night during the park’s inauguration, said the project would serve as another venue for leisure, recreation and entertainment of local residents and visitors.
The park has a playground with a swing, see-saw, slides, and other facilities for children; a basketball court and skating rink for teenagers and young adults; health equipment and amenities for seniors; and facilities for physical activities of joggers and bikers.
“The most exciting amenities are the dancing fountain and water cascades with bubblers, swing and changing vertical jets equipped with seven changing color lights, and the well-lighted trees that can surely attract the foreign and domestic tourists to witness the beauty of the park, especially during night time,” Acosta said.
Kalayaan Park was originally constructed during the martial law years and was then named “Imelda Park” in honor of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Acosta said the park has an inscription that says “the lovers” sculpted by the famous Filipino artist Eduardo Castrillo, a 1971 Republic Cultural awardee.
Last year, then mayor and now Albay Governor Noel Rosal decided to rehabilitate the park to make it more presentable and attractive to the people and also to give the residents livelihood activities in the area.
Acosta said the civil works of the project were supervised by the City Engineering Office through a PHP15-million fund from the city government under its so-called Open Green Spaces Program.
He said the park’s pavement is made of paver stones, which some physical enthusiasts believed to have a therapeutic effect when pressed against bare feet.
The inauguration and ceremonial switching on of lights at the park were witnessed by Mayor Geraldine Rosal and other city officials and employees as well as residents and visitors from nearby areas.
The city chief executive, in her message, said Kalayaan Park is part of the local government’s program to strengthen the tourism industry.
“At the same time, it will improve the livelihood activities of those residents who want to venture into small and medium businesses, such as putting up food stalls,” she said.
She also said she has directed the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources to deploy street sweepers who would maintain the cleanliness of the park.