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Uhuru Park to be commissioned tomorrow

An old aeroplane at the renovated Uhuru Park. [James Wanzala, Standard]

The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has announced the commissioning of Uhuru & Central Park.

Through a public notice on its official Twitter page, NMS said the commissioning will take place in the evening.

“It is notified for General information of the Public that there will be a Fireworks Extravaganza in Uhuru Park between 7-8pm on 12th Monday in celebration of Commissioning of  Uhuru & Central Park. Members of the public are advised to anticipate & enjoy the display,” read the tweet.

Uhuru Park and Central Park have remained shut for several months now.

The parks were closed for renovation to give them a facelift in a changing world where modernity matters most.

The previous Nairobi County Assembly gave the nod for the refurbishment of the two parks due to growing concerns that the recreational facilities were fast losing their allure.

The motion allowing the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to spruce up the parks was led by the then Majority Leader Abdi Guyo.

So much had the status of Uhuru Park waned that it became a den of criminals posing as visitors, gum-sniffing street boys and piles of litter on the grass lawns, pathways and benches.

Before its closure in September last year, Kenyans and even foreign tourists in need of rest could walk to the park to relax.

Equally, families held outdoor activities while lovers enjoyed the quiet environment at the recreational facilities.

On August 30, NMS shared online photos of features and facilities at the park, which has been expanded and partitioned with well-paved cabro walkways.

It has a section for skating, an outdoor gym, a library and an amphitheater installed with an audiovisual screen.

“The rehabilitation works which come 52 years after the green spaces were first opened to the public involved construction of various buildings and landscaping features,” NMS tweeted.

The Mau Mau freedom fighters' monuments have also been touched up with a fresh coat of paint, and water fountains reassembled. The walkways have been replaced with colourful slabs surrounded by well-manicured lawns, beautifully trimmed trees and sculptures of different animals.

Another massive attraction at the park is the skeleton of a giant airplane that has since been installed. From a distance, it looks like an aircraft that is about to take off.

The area that was previously used as a podium was brought down and the open field now boasts of several small fountains and expansive public benches made of hardwood. The park will also have a children’s play area, complete with bouncing castles and merry-go-rounds.

NMS noted: “Nairobi’s most popular recreational parks, Uhuru and Central Parks have undergone a major facelift to ensure both facilities meet international standards.

Uhuru Park was gazetted and opened to the public by Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta on May 23, 1969. Since then, the facility has been an embodiment of Kenya’s freedom struggle.

It is also the home of the Mau-Mau freedom fighter’s monument that honours victims of torture during the colonial era.

Before rehabilitation, the park was a free walk-in-walk-out facility. But not anymore, as visitors will have to pay to enter.

The commissioning will take place on the eve of the inauguration of President-elect Dr. William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua at Kasarani stadium on Tuesday.