The Mayor of Francistown, Honest Buti Billy, has announced that the city’s envisaged development projects for the financial year 2009/10 will go ahead as planned despite the global economic recession. Billy said at the Francistown City Council full session that the city has been awarded a development budget of close to P50 million to cater for ongoing development projects in the city.
He, however, regretted the fact that no new projects will be implemented in the next financial year because of monetary constraints. Major projects that are planned for the 2009/1010 financial year include the construction of the Tonota-Francistown and Francistown-Ramokgwebana roads.
Advertisements for tenders for the construction of the two roads are expected to be out by the end of this month. The construction of the two roads is expected to reduce the city’s present traffic congestion. The Francistown-Tonota road will include the demolition of the Thapama circle, which has been causing unnecessary traffic jams during rush hour.
Another development project is the expansion of the Francistown airport to enable it to accommodate Boeing 737 aircraft. The construction of the Francistown sports complex is also said to be going smoothly. The airport expansion and the new sports complex are viewed as strategic developments that will put Francistown at an advantage to benefit from the upcoming 2010 soccer World Cup in South Africa.
The construction of the 27 000 seater Francistown integrated sports complex, which will cost close to P200 million, started last year and has been awarded to a Chinese company, Tuama Construction.
The sports complex, which will be located at Gerald Estates behind Francistown airport, is expected to boost Francistown’s tourism revenue and also put the city in great stead to benefit from the 2010 South Africa Soccer World Cup.
The facility is to be constructed in phases, as the concerned ministry has not been able to secure enough funds for the construction of the whole project all at once.
Phase one will consist of the construction of the football pitch, athletics track, parking lot and other relevant amenities. Phase two of the project will consist of the construction of a multi purpose hall for other indoor games, and courts for other sports codes, like basketball and tennis.
Francistown has, of late, experienced a surge in economic growth powered by the mushrooming of mining industries in and around the city, which has also seen the city become a tourist resort of some sort, with the eruption of top of the range nature reserves like the Tachila Nature Reserve and high class hotels like the Cresta Residency, Thapama, Marang, Tati River Lodge and the Adansonia hotel.
It is also hoped that the facility will also assist in bringing other sports codes closer to the city. Francistown sports officials have long complained that they are denied major sports tournaments like the Coca Cola Cup finals, volleyball, boxing and tennis tournaments and the hope is that the construction of the top of the range sports complex will attract more lucrative tournaments to the city, which will, in turn, promote sports development in the north.
Meanwhile the construction phase of the project continues to create employment for many Batswana.