Kumasi – a Garden City deprived of public recreational facility

In July 2016, a stampede in an overcrowded Asawase Community Center in Kumasi claimed nine young lives, whilst scores of other Muslim holiday revelers got injured. Almost a year on, a teenage boy was shot in the head as he participated in the 2017 Eid-Ul-Fitr celebration at Manhyia. Various security lapses have been identified and interventions outlined to avert recurrence of such incidents. But there is a critical factor that has been downplayed – Kumasi is deprived of public recreational facilities to accommodate holiday and fun makers. Festivities like the Eid, Christmas and Easter mostly attract young people who seek avenues to revel. But with limited avenues to host large crowds, the risk of falling prey to the Manhyia shooting incident remains high. Kumasi Cultural Centre The Kumasi Centre for National Culture “Cultural Centre” has in times past served as the major attraction to young holiday makers with exciting programmes for all. The Centre has good space and other facilities to host large numbers. However, the area is no longer attractive. Vehicular congestion and commuter traffic jam along the Kejetia-Bantama stretch has rendered the Cultural Centre almost inaccessible and unattractive to people. Hence, event organizers seldom opt to host programmes at the enclave. Children’s Park [caption id="attachment_24014" align="alignnone" width="564"] There are a number of parks in Kumasi[/caption] The Children’s Park at Amakom has a serene greenly environment for social pleasure and leisure reading. This 10.9 acre land was allotted for the multipurpose park in the late 1980s to serve the recreational needs of children in Kumasi and other parts of the Ashanti region. But the facility, which includes a playground and a library, has been left to deteriorate over the years with no rehabilitation in sight. The park has largely become a den for criminals, an abode of reptiles and an atmosphere for suicide freaks whilst young people seek avenues to develop the physical and mental wellbeing.

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Rattray Park [caption id="attachment_16469" align="alignnone" width="564"] Kojo Bonsu was Mayor of Kumasi when Rattray Park was built[/caption] The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) commissioned the Rattray Park in 2015 as an amusement and recreational park. But access to the facility comes at a cost most young people may be challenged in paying. On festive occasions, the Park attracts at additional charge, making it expensive for the average youth to patronize. Kumasi City Mall [caption id="attachment_51151" align="alignnone" width="566"] President Akufo-Addo and Asantehene commissioned the Kumasi City Mall[/caption] The newly commissioned Kumasi City Mall is the current attraction for young people in search of places of amusement. Even with no special events to excite trading at the Mall, holiday-makers troop the mall to stroll and window-shop. It is now commonplace for the youth to use the facility as their abode of amusement. Sustainable Livelihood A modern city needs basic amenities for health and wellbeing. Public parks and leisure facilities offer people avenues to build social cohesion and generate healthy living. Kumasi city developers will therefore need to rethink recreational infrastructure that provides a safe environment for young people to play and develop sustainably. Such facilities will also enforce the Garden City accolade of Kumasi where the people will pride in the city’s beautiful plant and flower species that induce pleasure living. By Kofi Adu Domfeh The writer is the bureau chief of TV3, Northern Sector]]>