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Carnegie Library restoration and fund-raising project launched


Carnegie Library restoration and fund-raising project launched

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A FUNDRAISING PROJECT to finance a $4 million restoration of the historic Carnegie Building on Coleridge Street, Bridgetown, was launched yesterday by the Task Force established to oversee the restoration.

Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, speaking at a media briefing during the launch, said that Cabinet had prioritised several historic buildings for restoration and the Carnegie Building was the number one priority.  The Carnegie Building served as the headquarters of the National Library Service up to eight years ago when it was vacated due to its deteriorated condition.

Other buildings on the priority list are the Empire Theatre, Queen’s Park House and Marshall Hall.

According to the Minister, the goal for the Carnegie Library was to create “a modern state-of-the-art learning and information centre of the highest quality, and a star attraction within the historic core of the City”.

Phase one will include the full restoration of the building, including the provision of internal stairs, elevators, air-conditioning, a courtyard and carpark. Phase two will incorporate the old Supreme Court building next door to allow for additional square footage.

Lashley said that the Carnegie Building was one of many listed historical buildings within Bridgetown and its Historic Garrison that had been abandoned due to their state of disrepair.

Restoration of these properties, he said, would improve the City scape; provide valuable real estate; and enrich the brand of Historic Bridgetown as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“The associated benefits to the tourism industry and the national economy cannot be overstated…Research has shown that enhanced cities attract visitors. When there are places to see and activities for participation, investment becomes more attractive,” the Minister of Culture added.

Other initiatives which, he said, were under way were the establishment of the National Art Gallery in Block A of the Garrison, plans for a custom–built cultural centre, and the restoration of Queen’s Park House, which is home to the Queen’s Park Gallery and the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre. He said this latter project was a partnership between the National Cultural Foundation, the Ministry of Transport and Works and the private sector.

Meanwhile, the Preservation (Barbados) Foundation Trust, which is the registered charity and fundraising arm of the Task Force responsible for the preservation of Barbados’ built heritage, has begun its efforts with the sale of an Independence Anniversary Calendar. The calendar will initially go on sale at the Grantley Adams International Airport to target persons leaving the island after Crop Over, but will also be offered for sale around the island.

The next major fundraiser by the Trust will be the raffle of a Range Rover vehicle, complements of Simpson Motors. (BGIS)