October 4 2022 1:30 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Municipal buildings invade public parks

A child at Al Kamalyah Park, in Amman’s Al-Kamalyah Neighborhood looks on at a municipality building that currently occupies half of the park. (Photo: Leen Al-Rashdan/JNews)
AMMAN — “The children can’t play or ride their bicycles anymore.... The old park was perfect for social distancing, but now it’s hard because the bigger part of it is gone,’’ said Ahlam, a mother living in Al-Kamaleyeh and a regular goer to Musa Al-Saket Park in the area, in the northwest of Amman.اضافة اعلان

The change in the recreational facility’s boundaries was brought about at the hands of the very agency tasked with creating these public spaces to serve tax payers, the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), which is building offices within this park and others as headquarters, coupled with other facilities. 

Similar projects are eating or already have eaten into public parks in Amman, which is home to 134 such spaces and around four million residents. In Bayader in west Amman, for example, one of the park’s two football pitches was bulldozed to make room for municipal offices.  

Spokesman of the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) Nasser Rahamneh told Jordan News that the building in Kamaleyeh Park will serve as an IT center that will “serve the public” like any other component of the park.

A source familiar with the Kamaleyeh project said the IT facility was never part of the plan, adding that the concrete structures will take up five out of the 11 dunums that constitute the total area of the park. This includes a parking lot designated for dozens of garbage pressers. Starting after Eid Al-Fitr mid-May, the sources said, the trucks will start using the area. 

The GAM’s spokesperson said that he had no information regarding the pressers, which are normally parked in designated lots away from recreational spaces due to the health and environmental hazards they cause.

An expert warned that keeping garbage trucks overnight in a recreational area such as Musal Al-Saket Park “damages the environment it cause respiratory diseases”.

“Moreover, it will attract flies and rodents”, and eventually ruin a place that is supposed to be pleasing to people in terms of public health and urban aesthetics, said Ibrahim Al-Bdour, former chair of the House sub-committee on health and current head of the health department at the National Centre for Human Rights.

That is more bad news for Ahlam, her children and other Kamaleyeh residents.