The reconstructed Hopewell Market in Hanover is now opened following a J$23 million upgrading project.
The facility, which will accommodate 24 vendors was officially opened by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie on June 23.
The new structure features new stalls, storage area as well as a section for fish and meat vendors, bathrooms and parking.
“Since 2016, the Government led by Prime Minster Andrew Holness, has spent quite a lot on markets across the country,” said Minister McKenzie.
“We built a brand new market in Port Maria at a cost of over J$60 million. We built a brand new market in Falmouth in Trelawny. This market in Hopewell was not renovated, but instead, we built an entirely new market for the vendors and the residents.”
A mural was also painted on the walls of the market as part of the Ministry’s national beautification initiative, ‘Paint the City, Paint the Town’.
The Hopewell Market, which had fallen into disrepair, will serve a population approximately 6,000 people who live in and around the rural township.
The Minister stressed that the Government recognizes the importance of markets as the centre of commerce in rural towns and, as such, has been rehabilitating facilities across the country.
Work on the Hopewell Market was completed within budget over two years and included the recommendations of vendors, who were engaged prior to and during the construction.
He urged the vendors to protect the infrastructure as well as ensure that they pay their market fees.
“Understand that the market fees are what you use to maintain the place. More people will be employed now. You have bathrooms, you need attendants, you have a new facility, you need to have security. The place needs to be kept clean, so it means new persons have to be employed.”
The Ministry will also spearhead a series of improvement projects to markets – to include Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland; Charles Gordon Market in Montego Bay, and Santa Cruz, S. Elizabeth- during this financial year.
Mayor of Lucea, Councillor Sheridan Samuels said the new and improved facility in Hopewell will upgrade the aesthetics of the town and enhance the shopping experience within the space. He also commended the vendors for their patience during the construction phases.
“These vendors on a daily basis, despite their many losses due to lack of convenience and security, continue to provide a service that is essential to the people of Hopewell and its surroundings.”
Vendor Junior Gordon, who will be occupying a stall in the new market feels good about the new and improved facility.
“I think we’ll have more customers because they will be shopping in greater comfort. We appreciate the new market and I hope that they will come and shop with us,” said Mr. Gordon.