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Prince gives riverside park design green light

Prince gives riverside park design green light

A n estimated $140,000 will be needed to build a new riverside park in Phnom Penh

recently given the go-ahead by the government and supported by Prime Minister

Prince Ranariddh.

The park is part of the govern-ment's program of

upgrading the beauty of the capital and was to have been restored using a design

made with French support.

But Prince Ranariddh shelved this plan after

visiting the University of Fine Arts on Jan. 24-25 where he was impressed by new

designs produced by architecture students.

Groups of students had

produced plans covering all the park areas, including the river side site which

will blend the remains of the old park with a new one.

One student said

the groups with the best designs would merge their ideas and produce one plan

for the park. This would include statues of Khmer kings from the Angkor time,

said the student.

Sok Bonn is the head of parks and vegetation in the

Municipal Public Works Service. He said he hoped construction would start soon.

"We already have the decision from the government and now we are waiting for the

money to come down," he said.

Most of the money is needed to concrete

two chunks of the river bank which are collapsing and to build water and power

supplies for a recreation field. Trees and flowers will also be

grown.

Phnom Penh has 96.5 hectares of parks, numbering about 40 large

fields which include the Royal Palace, Independence Monument, Wat Phnom, the

Council of Ministers and the Defense Ministry. They turned to ruin during the

Khmer Rouge time.

Over the past decade, some 55 hectares have been

renovated but Sok Bonn said his department did not get enough money to maintain

the parks and it would take a couple of million dollars to fully restore them.

"Our government has no money, so we cannot reach the international level," he

complained.

One of the hindrances to the department's work is a

difficulty in maintaining the parks' beauty during the dry season when water

pressure is not strong enough. "We want the flowers to be alive all year round,"

said Sok Bonn.

He said renovating the parks would take another ten years

if the funding system remained the same but if enough cash was available then

"fast money, fast work" would see the work finished by 1996.

Sok Bonn

said, however, that no companies had been interested in providing help except a

Thai company which has renovated Pochentong Park.

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