PHILIPSBURG:--- After receiving two thumbs up from the Philipsburg Vendors for the final rendering of the soon-to-be-constructed new Market Place, Acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunication (TEATT), the Honorable Omar Ottley, is preparing for a follow-up meeting with project financiers Royal Caribbean this week.
Minister Ottley said Wednesday, “This project is a number one priority for completion for the Ministry of Tourism as it is a key piece of enhancing the Philipsburg experience for visitors.”
He said regardless of who serves as the next Minister of TEATT, we should deliver on the long overdue promise given to the Philipsburg vendors.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of TEATT announced that it had secured funding for the construction of the Marketplace from the Royal Caribbean Cruise line RCI (Royal Caribbean International). RCI pledged to finance the reconstruction of the Philipsburg Market Place thanks to the assistance of Port St. Maarten and their longstanding and healthy relationship with RCI.
The new structures will mimic the footprint of the original Market place, which spreads over three areas. The first location is on the corner of N. Debrot Street and Market Street, approximately 450m2. Location 2 is on C. A. Cannegieter Street and & Gevangenisstraat. This area is approximately 800m2 and is accessible from three sides via the C. A. Cannegieter Street, & Gevangenisstraat and Backstreet. The third location is on Backstreet and Hendrikstraat, approximately 200m2.
Critical features for the reconstruction of the Marketplace include ensuring that it is built strong enough for protection from weather conditions and elements. The goal is for the new structure to withstand up to category five hurricane-force winds. Another essential feature is that, unlike the previous concept, vendors would be able to store their goods safely within the stall instead of having to take away their entire stock each day.
The new and improved Marketplace will also be wheelchair accessible and feature designated parking for offloading goods by vendors. The Ministry of TEATT has also ensured that the new design considers the safety of Vendors and patrons and says the facility will have Fire Extinguishers and surveillance cameras.