Mon, 10 Apr 2000

Rp 7.3b budgeted for new plan to spruce up Monas

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration is setting aside Rp 7.3 billion in the new 2000 fiscal year for the beautification of the vast Medan Merdeka Park at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta.

The plan was announced on Saturday by the newly appointed head of the City Park Agency, Dadang Ruskandar, during a visit to the park.

The budget is slightly below the Rp 9.8 billion proposed earlier by the agency.

Dadang said the funds would be used to finance the park's greening and management plan, the renovation of pedestrian areas, the construction of a statue of national hero Prince Diponegoro, kiosks for local street vendors and an amphitheater.

The kiosks, he said, would be located on an plot which is now the site of a pond. The management of the kiosks will be under the authority of the Central Jakarta mayor.

The agency has yet to decide where to place the statue, but said the amphitheater would be built on the periphery of a parking lot at the park.

"The amphitheater is expected to become a popular place for local artists to show their talent," Dadang said.

"In short, we want to make Monas' Medan Merdeka Park a landmark of Central Jakarta to attract tourists."

The 82-hectare park, the largest in the capital, is the site of the National Monument (Monas). A total of 750 trees originating from all of the country's provinces have been planted at the site as part of the city's continuous effort to spruce up the park.

The city administration already spends billions of rupiah annually to finance the park project. Some projects, such as the planned construction of an underground parking lot, amphitheater and the planting of various types of trees, were part of previous plans.

Many of the plans have not been fully realized. Officials in charge of the projects have consistently argued that it was due to lack of funds.


Dadang also hoped for public participation in realizing the project.

He asked several groups of people who regularly spend their weekend mornings exercising at the park for their input on how to beautify the area.

Dadang offered the groups the chance to help in tending to the park.

"That would include coordinating the street sweepers, taking care of the trees and deciding the kinds of trees to be planted," he said.

"Of course, it's only if you agree."

Two of the six groups at the park on Saturday agreed to the proposal.

Dadang also distributed complaint cards to visitors to the park.

Complaints can be addressed to the agency at Jl. Jatibaru I Blok IV Central Jakarta, by phone (381 2736) or facsimile (385 1526).

One complaint was immediately forthcoming.

A man appeared from the crowd and asked Dadang and his staff to properly manage the routes of the dozens of delman (horse- drawn buggies) operating inside the park.

The man, who identified himself as Setiadi, also reminded city officials to honor their promises.

"The most important thing is that the programs should be continued, not just for a while," he said. (09)