The government may rope in private investment for redeveloping Muntazah Park which has been closed for years. The Minister of Municipality and Environment H E Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Rumaihi wants to apportion budget funds for the park’s renovation, but will seek private capital if the outlay is not available, a source told The Peninsula.
Residents of densely-populated Al Muntazah have been coming across shuttered gates of the park for a long time. “You are not allowed inside,” workers in yellow overalls told this correspondent at one of the gates of the park along Al Muntazah Street. “Baladiya (municipality) work is on inside,” said another.
Scores of walkers and exercisers who use the periphery of the facility cannot figure out why it hasn’t reopened. “I have seen it closed for years and don’t know why,” said a resident not wishing to be named.
The source at the Ministry said infrastructure work led to closure of the swathe of green in the heart of the city. “First, the road expansion and now the Doha Metro project has kept it closed,” said the source, adding it is likely to reopen after the underground rail works finish.
It has been learnt that the minister is personally monitoring the renovation of the park and development of the new Doha Zoo, with a futuristic design covering 75 hectares, seven times the size of the current zoo.
Experts say green spaces in the city help bring down temperatures and reduce harmful gases in the air. Research has shown greenery amid urban sprawls promote feelings of well being, inspire people to work out and is aesthetically appealing. Qatar is promoting Exercise is Medicine — a global campaign of the American College of Sports Medicine — that seeks to improve public health with help of enhanced physical activity.
Mohammed H Abu-Dieyeh, Associate Professor of Applied Plant Ecology at Qatar University said the importance of parks in urbanised spaces is immense. “Trees not only trap dust or suspended particulate matter but help cool the air by transpiration, a process by which leaves lose water from their surfaces”, he said. A gramme of water absorbs significant amount of heat from the surrounding air as it changes to water vapour, he added.
The Peninsula reported earlier that the Ministry plans to build 59 new public parks across the country. Doha will have five new parks while Al Rayyan Municipality will get 25.
Al Muntazah Park, though closed, is not barren. The hedges on the periphery are lush green and pictures taken by The Peninsula show diverse flora inside, including tall palms not native to the region. “Blood has an affinity to combine with carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from vehicle exhaust. Plants absorb these gases,” said Abu-Dieyeh.
Al Bidda Park, along the Corniche Road, has also been shut for renovation a year ago.
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