President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to launch the proposed Sh350 million Uhuru Business Park and refurbished port in Kisumu County next week.
Preparations were in top gear yesterday with County Commissioner Susan Waweru and Kisumu City Manager Dorice Ombara supervising the ongoing construction works in the park.
This development comes after the Kenya Railways Corporation donated 23 acres of land to the county for industrial growth.
The county government decided to put up a business park named after President Uhuru who initiated the process to accommodate displaced traders in town.
Over 10,000 traders were displaced after several markets including the popular Lwang’ni Beach fish market were demolished.
The businesses were standing on land belonging to Kenya Railways which the Kenya Ports Authority reclaimed for the expansion of Kisumu Port infrastructure.
Some of the affected traders have not been resettled to date but with the construction of the Uhuru Business Park, they are likely to resume business soon.
Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o said were it not for President Uhuru’s intervention, they would not have received the funds to build the park.
At least 7,500 stalls and 2,500 jua kali sheds will be built to resettle those displaced in the city’s structural reorganisation.
The area has also been fenced and is now under twenty four hour security surveillance just as was done in Kisumu Port to avoid interference with ongoing work.
Security officials said the area has 886 housing units built by Kenya Railways in 1901 and it had to be guarded to prevent looters from taking away State property as the demolitions are going on.
Currently, Kisumu port, is secured from members of the public and has only two access points which are manned by both National Police Service officers and Kenya Navy security personnel.
Some of the rehabilitation works at the port include safeguarding of link roads to and from port, installation of cargo-handling equipment and paving of the dock yard.
Rehabilitation of the dry dock as well as an overhaul of rusted ramps for lowering boats in Lake Victoria have been completed.
AU Special Envoy for Infrastructure Raila Odinga is also expected to attend the opening next week.
“The President will be here to commission a number of national government funded projects and we welcome him in a big way,’’ said Nyong’o when he toured the site and spoke to the artisans and traders.
“My administration’s commitment to see the success of this project remains resolute.”
Ms Ombara disclosed that they were also sourcing for an additional Sh700 million to put up high-rise buildings for rent at affordable rates.
“We intend to hive off about five acres or so to put up new buildings where we will charge between Sh5,000 and Sh10,000 rent per month,’’ she said.
This is expected to ease pressure on rentals for the middle-income earners and young graduates venturing into business.
Currently, commercial rental space in Kisumu is charged upwards of Sh30,000 a month with additional goodwill of up to Sh300,000.
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