Beer Garden pleads for public area to stay green

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Half million birr invested to create park in front of their property

Ten years ago the Addis Ababa City Administration permitted the Beer Garden Hotel in Bole to turn a publicly owned area in front of its property into a green space. The owners created a public park, planting grass and trees and creating a mini children’s playground where kids could play on the park facilities for free. They invested over half a million birr to create the 1,800sqm green park.

Now, however, the Addis Ababa City Administration Transport Programs Coordination Office says they need the space for an underground parking lot. The cost and duration of the project is unknown however plans are in the works to begin constructing the parking lot by the next Ethiopian year. Currently the project is undergoing a design study.

The owners of the Beer Garden Hotel argue that there are plenty of vacant spaces in the area to use for parking and that it is not necessary to demolish the park, especially when children have been using it for ten years.

“We understand that we don’t have the legal right to prevent development since the place is public land. However, as a citizen who cares about the environment and keeping a balance between nature and growth we urge the Addis Ababa City Administration not to demolish the park that we have invested a lot of time and money into,” said Solomon Assefa, Beer Garden Hotel Human Resources Manger.

“They say they will reconstruct the park after they complete the underground parking lot, however we doubt that they have the ability to grow trees and grass above ground while using the area for parking, even if it is underground. If the City really needs parking there are vacant places a few meters behind and beside our hotel and they can use this instead of the park, which serves many people including children,” he added.

Berhanu Girma is the Addis Ababa City Administration Transport Programs Coordination Office Infrastructure Core Process Head. He explained to Capital that Bole Medhanealem is well known to be highly congested with cars because the area is filled with many hotels and business centers. This is an attempt by the government to provide a solution for parking congestion which blocks traffic lanes. He says the proposal is to keep the green area above ground while creating the parking area underground. In addition to this underground lot, another is planned near Wabe Sheble Hotel. He added that they don’t intend to harm the park and will talk to the owner of the Beer Garden Hotel as part of their study.

Currently the Addis Ababa Transport Bureau is working to build the first of six smart parking facilities with an outlay of 80 million birr in Kirkos District near the Palace Commercial Centre, at the junction of Menelik II Avenue and Zewditu St, across from the Menelik II Palace, the Prime Minister’s residence and office.