Urban renewal project for Kenneth Gardens

kennethgardenspaintingBy Waheeda Peters
An urban renewal make-over is on the cards for Kenneth Gardens in Umbilo. The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s outreach project has earmarked Kenneth Gardens for six new projects.

More than 1000 residents live in the high density housing estate. According to Professor Monique Marks, Kenneth Gardens is the largest corporation housing project situated in an established lower middle class area in Durban. She said the University had done research at Kenneth Gardens and found that issues such as unemployment, drug abuse, high-school drop-out rate, crime, domestic violence and insufficient police intervention as the main problems that residents were faced with on an ongoing basis.

“With this in mind and because there is an urban sustainability already existing at the flats with a soup kitchen service being offered to residents at Flamingo Court, we have decided to try and better the living conditions at Kenneth Gardens by formerly launching the six projects for this area.

“We want to start a Day Care Centre for the children that come from school and have no one to look after them because their parents are working, a public health programme to provide the basic needs as a clinic, train the youth to be part of the project and do documentary work for us, start a bursary scheme for the youth who cannot afford to go to University and who have excelled in matric and lastly, to begin a music programme and utilise the talents of the kids and form a choir,” she said.

The Residents’ Association, based at Kenneth Gardens, is excited about the project and has given its full support to helping it succeed.
Joyce Gunkel from the Association said residents were a bit sceptical about the new projects as many promises were made by various stakeholders and not much had been done.
“We are confident that UKZN will come to the party and once they start delivering, people will take notice and start helping as well, it’s just a matter of time,” she said.

UKZN has selected Abraham Taylor as project coordinator for Kenneth Gardens. He will be based in an office at the flats where he will ensure all the projects are undertaken without any hiccups.

“My job will entail investigating the daily realities and experiences of living in Kenneth Gardens. As far as we can gather, no published research work has been conducted in these corporation estates in recent years. We hope to document all the residents who live or have lived here and perhaps publish a book in time about Kenneth Gardens.”

A formal launch will be held at Kenneth Gardens by UKZN outreach committee which has been planned for 28 May.

Anyone interested in helping out in cash or kind can contact Abe on 083 435 3577.

First published in LookLocal.

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