Party as new-look Ewing Street reopens
The new-look Ewing Street was reopened yesterday evening at a celebratory block party attended by residents and dignitaries.
The area has been undergoing an enhancement project for more than a year, which has included the planting of a selection of fruiting trees.
The project has faced hurdles along the way: residents and businesses opposed initial plans by the Corporation of Hamilton to remove French oak trees from the upper part of the street, with resident Sherma Simmons acting as a human shield to prevent the row of 50-year-old trees from being pulled up.
The Corporation later agreed to keep the oaks in place and then planted more trees in another section of the road.
Henry Ming, the owner of Architectural Planning and Research and now a Corporation of Hamilton councillor, helped to formulate a new plan for the street.
“It has been a positive ending to what I would consider to be a struggle at the outset, but everybody wins with this — the business owners win, the residents naturally win and the Corporation has something that they are indeed very proud of,” he said.
Steven DeSilva, the superintendent of the Parks Department, said: “We've remained true to our promise to create attractive, shaded streets that encourage people to enjoy the outdoors.
“We want city streets to be for people, not just cars, and Ewing Street is a great example of what the City of Hamilton works hard to achieve in creating a vibrant, safe and attractive, user-friendly city.
“We were very selective about the species of trees we planted in the Ewing Street project — we decided on a guava and a loquat tree.
“These are mature trees that are likely to fruit next summer and it is our hope that the neighbourhood will really enjoy them.
“We envision children going there to enjoy the fruit, or some of the young entrepreneurs might start selling the fruit.”
Also new to the street were two Puerto Rican hat palms and two false ebonies — a signature tree for Bermuda.
Among the dignitaries in attendance at the event were Mayor Charles Gosling, Governor George Fergusson and councillor RoseAnn Edwards.
As well as a celebration of the completion of the project, the block party was thrown as a “thank you” to the residents and businesses that were inconvenienced by the work, which is part of a continuing plan to enhance North Hamilton.
“Today is a celebration as we take note of what was once a picturesque yet tired street and has now transformed into an icon for North Hamilton and Bermuda as a whole,” Mr Gosling said. “What we see today was well beyond our imagination and members of the [former Mayor Graeme] Outerbridge administration should be thanked by the neighbourhood residents for their numerous efforts to follow through with multiple scenarios and a truly well-spent budget to bring a beautified and iconic city boulevard, one that I hope its residents are proud of.”