Inside the refurbished Uhuru and Central parks

A view of the refurbished Uhuru Park in Nairobi

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

The iconic Uhuru Park and Central Park in Nairobi are expected to dazzle once renovation works are complete. A year since their closure to pave the way for rehabilitation, the two recreational parks are ready to reopen to the public.

The two parks have been undergoing renovations since September 2021 under the stewardship of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) in a bid to transform them to international park standards.

The renovations followed approval of a motion by the Nairobi County Assembly to reform the parks which have for years suffered neglect.

In July this year, NMS Director General, Lieutenant General Mohamed Badi announced plans to transform Uhuru and Central parks to the standards of the parks in Dubai, United Arabs Emirates.

A view of the refurbished Uhuru Park in Nairobi

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

Gen Badi said the renovations were made in a bid to restore green spaces in Nairobi County, as well as to transform them to international park standards.

On Tuesday, NMS gave a sneak peek into the new-look facilities ahead of the opening whose date is yet to be announced.

The two parks will now play host to several recreation facilities among them an outdoor gym, jogging tracks, botanical trails and a skating park. The 12.9-hectare park will boast manicured lawns, maintained trees, enhanced walkways and green spaces.

“The rehabilitation works, which come 52 years after the green spaces were first opened to the public, involved the construction of various buildings and landscaping features that include a playground, an outdoor gym, jogging tracks, botanical trails, an outdoor library and a skating park,” NMS said in a tweet, alongside photos of the revamped facilities.

A view of the refurbished Uhuru Park in Nairobi

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

There will also be an outdoor amphitheatre fitted with an audiovisual screen, a Nyatiti-shaped events garden, as well as a children’s play area, with bouncing castles and merry-go-rounds. The parks will also feature several eateries and high-end hotels

The iconic Nyayo statue and Mau Mau freedom fighters monuments have also been maintained as well as a more defined freedom corner in remembrance of Prof Wangari Maathai. A larger artificial lake has been transformed into a major waterfront with a Swahili restaurant.

“The revamped green spaces will play a critical role in environmental pollution management, social-economic development of the nation as well as the physical well-being of citizens,” NMS added.

Uhuru Park hosts an artificial lake (located in the centre of the park), several national monuments, and an assembly ground that had become a popular skateboarding spot on weekends.

This development is part of an ambitious project of restoring and transforming the Nairobi River ecosystem as well as green and public spaces in the capital aimed at revitalising major neighbourhoods in the capital.

A view of the refurbished Uhuru Park in Nairobi

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

On the other hand, Central Park will have an outdoor library for use by children to read and it will also be used for book launches. The park will also have a monument to honour health workers who have lost their lives battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basic facilities at the parks were built for people in the 1960s and 80s who were less than one million at the time but now Nairobi has a population of more than four million.

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