No service: Bermuda’s famous pink and blue buses as an unfamiliar sight on Court Street. Roxanne Christopher, economic development officer for Northeast Hamilton, said: “Court Street could take a public bus; Dundonald Street could take a public bus. We need public transportation to bring people to the area and that would have a significant knock-on effect for current businesses and could be of assistance in starting new businesses.”  *Bermuda Sun file photo
No service: Bermuda’s famous pink and blue buses as an unfamiliar sight on Court Street. Roxanne Christopher, economic development officer for Northeast Hamilton, said: “Court Street could take a public bus; Dundonald Street could take a public bus. We need public transportation to bring people to the area and that would have a significant knock-on effect for current businesses and could be of assistance in starting new businesses.” *Bermuda Sun file photo

If you want to get to Northeast Hamilton, you’d better prepare to hoof it. 

That’s because the area is lacking in public transportation running through its main arteries.

Roxanne Christopher, the economic development officer for the Northeast Hamilton Economic Empowerment Zone, said this would be a key to helping it grow as a business area 

Ms Christopher said: “One of my wishes and concerns is the lack of public transportation in Northeast Hamilton.”

She said the EEZ has lobbied with the Department of Public Transportation to have them run a bus through the area. 

Ms Christopher lamented: “We have public transportation on the peripheral of Northeast Hamilton, but there is no public transportation to penetrate the area. And if you cannot bring people to a particularly area, especially to an urban area, it leads to other challenges of economic success.

“Court Street could take a public bus; Dundonald Street could take a public bus. We need public transportation to bring people to the area and that would have a significant knock-on effect for current businesses and could be of assistance in starting new businesses. 

“A coffee shop could start right next to the bus stop. There are new businesses that could be generated from having public access to Northeast Hamilton.”

New park

Erica Smith, executive director for the three EEZs, told the Bermuda Sun making the area attractive would also help draw in visitors and locals alike to do business. 

Smith said: “We have created a physical redevelopment plan for Northeast Hamilton… and we’re going to make strides to see if we can accomplish one of those projects nest year.”

The big plan is to create a public park in the vacant lot at the corners of Court and Dundonald Streets, next to Emmanuel Baptist Church.

That area is owned by the Corporation of Hamilton, which has announced plans for a park there, but now the focus is raising money to make it a reality.

Smith said: “We have been working with them. Our goal is to help them and our stakeholders to raise money to fund it. We’re beginning to float the idea of the ‘Friends of the Park’ type initiative to see a park created in that area. It’s a really great win-win for all the stakeholders. It will give them something else to feel proud of. If they can take control of it and have input in its design and be actively involved in raising funds for it. 

“They can bring a kind of oasis into an urban area that doesn’t have very many open spaces in it. If you look at the map, there is very little open space in Northeast Hamilton.

When the plan for the park was announced, the Mayor of Hamilton, Greame Outerbridge, said: “ We anticipate getting costs for this project in time for the figures to be included in the 2014 budget. This means the project will start and hopefully be completed within the next 15 months, or so.

“As the plans are drawn up, we will share the details with all stakeholders together with costs and timelines. This is the next step in the process and we are looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition. We know the redesign of the property will enhance the area and provide an additional recreational space for the residents, businesses and shoppers in the area.”