29 May 2010

Gearing up for Sepp

With Fifa president Sepp Blatter due to visit the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth tomorrow (Sunday, May 30) there was plenty of activity around the World Cup venue when we visited today. Thankfully, the mammoth paving project outside the Alfred Road entrance - clearly the main entrance to the stadium - is complete. Elsewhere in the city, other major projects are still lagging, especially on the showpiece Donkin Reserve, where the mammoth 12m by 8m SA flag, raised at a ceremony in the gale yesterday, was conspicuous by its absence.

Brick paving galore characterises the main entrance to the stadium in Alfred Road, which saw final preparations yesterday ahead of Sepp Blatter's visit.

This area was a dusty wasteland last time we visited. Now it has been grassed and looks a lot cooler.

A view of the Milner Avenue entrance, which shows there are still some ugly areas to be patched up. We also noticed that lights have been installed along the length of Milner Avenue and up Gibaud Road, with a new walkway on the northern side of the lake nearing completion and the road being widened. Should be ready by June 13, when the first match is held in Port Elizabeth.

Then there is this! Harrower Road, a key link to the stadium, still needs plentch work.

Further afield, we took a look at the St George's Park cricket stadium, scene for the city's Fan Park - and found this poster with a plan of the ground dating back to the 2003 ICC World Cup. There was, in fact, no visible sign, outside the stadium, of preparations for the fan park.

Nice view. When Sir Rufane Donkin named the tiny village below him Port Elizabeth, after his late wife, in 1820, he stood on an area he proclaimed public open space in perpetuity. The Donkin Reserve is being upgraded, and this statue is one of 67 art works being installed on a Mandela Walk - or "Route 67" - named after his 67 years of public service. This will lead from the 1923 Campanile (marking the British Settlers' arrival in 1820) and across the Donkin.

A closer view of the sculpture.

Another view of the sculpture, with the dusty Donkin reserve and pyramid, built in 1820.

Another view of the statue. The lighthouse on the right was built in 1861.

More paving on the Donkin. There is light at the end of this tunnel.

Closer inspection reveals interesting landscaping under way.

With the giant flagpole on the left, a paved area links it to the historic pyramid.

A road, Jetty Street, once ran along here, next to the Market Square. It was subsequently covered to form a bus terminus, with the Campanile Hotel on the right suffering as a result. Now they have removed some of that concrete and are building a showpiece staircase linking Strand Street to the Market Square.

A view of construction work at the sight from the Market Square, with the Campanile in the distance, behind the freeway obstruction.

1 comment:

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