07 May 2021 – The city government is pushing for the rehabilitation of one of the Summer Capital’s iconic historical landmarks and top tourist destinations.
City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) head Archt. Donna Rillera Tabangin presented a proposed Wright Park Rejuvenation Plan during the regular management committee meeting, May 4, of local officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
The plan was developed by the offices of environment, parks and management; engineering; buildings and architecture; and her department.
Tabangin said the proposal is part of the city’s ongoing cultural mapping project since intensive research about the area’s history was conducted by personnel of the four offices involved.
“Our main parameter for consideration is to bring back Wright Park, one of Baguio’s premier parks, to its original design and intention and modernize some parts that are already distressed,” she explained.
To preserve the area’s natural history, Tabangin said, their research went as far back as the 1909 Burnham Plan of Baguio by American architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham based on a “City Beautiful” theme with neo-classical structures, expansive views, natural landscapes and more.
Another parameter is the original intention of the Americans for Baguio to be an oasis for adventure, rest and rejuvenation.
Focus should be given to the generative role of a public park such as Wright Park in the urban development of Baguio, she stressed.
Tabangin disclosed that the plan’s cost-benefit are: Environmental health and heat island mitigation; biodiversity protection, carbon sink; public health safeguarding; economic continuity; natural and historical heritage preservation; and quality of life attainment.
Costing an estimated P356,452,478 for the almost eight hectare area, she said the city can accomplish the project one zone at a time so that it can allocate or source funds for each phase with a corresponding cost estimate.
These zones are Preservation (pine forest); conservation (pool of pine and pathway, rotunda); recreation (al fresco, picnic, lawn/open field, horse stables); visitor services and facilities (parking and commercial building); and access (horse, pedestrian, bike trails, vehicular access). – Gaby B. Keith