Monday, July 1, 2013
Dagupan's business district, target of urban renewal plan
City hall is now preparing the blueprint of an urban renewal program targeting to provide new outlook in Dagupan's central business district. To be launched by the new administration of Mayor Belen Fernandez as soon as the ongoing rehabilitation and upgrading of A.B. Fernandez Avenue is completed, the project seeks to make Dagupan more competitive with other fast-rising metropolitan areas. Fernandez said the blue print of this program is now being prepared by City Planning and Development Coordinator Romeo Rosario. The plan, which is welcomed by owners of business establishments along A.B. Fernandez Avenue, aims to restore the old grandeur and glory of Dagupan's downtown area. The downtown area of Dagupan where buyers from all over Pangasinan and as far as the Ilocos used to shop suddenly lost its luster after the onslaught of the powerful July 16, 1990 earthquake. Indeed, A. B. Fernandez Avenue was never the same again after the quake. Although the road was later restored, it became very susceptible to flooding. It is even underwater every rise of tidal water from the adjacent Pantal River, rain or shine. "We need to restore our downtown area because it is here where all of us businessmen of Dagupan started," said Fernandez, once hailed as one the most successful business leaders in Northern Luzon. Upgrading of A,B. Fernandez Avenue by more than one foot began in March this year. It includes the reconstruction and redesigning of its drainage canals and sidewalks and the rearrangement of its existing lamp posts. The whole project was funded by some P50 million from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) worked out by Pangasinan Fourth District Rep. Gina de Venecia as her response to the frequent floods in the area. Fernandez said owners of business establishments agreed to renovate the facades of their buildings in keeping pace with the urban renewal program. Some of these establishments are now in fact raising their floor level to be in equal height with the road Fernandez said Phase 1 of the project is now almost complete but the contractor can not build the sidewalks because the Dagupan City Water District was slow in laying its water pipes.