Great expectations: Amman mayor promises 'qualitative changes' in 100 days
Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji checked on the situation of downtown Amman and Al Mahatta area on Friday, announcing that the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) has plans in store for revamping the city centre.
During a tour of the two areas, the mayor spoke to residents and traders and listened to their comments and proposals, noting that GAM is preparing plans that will safeguard the city’s architectural and historical heritage, restore its elegance and eliminate visual pollution.
Biltaji said he chose to tour the areas on Friday because it is characterised by various activities in downtown Amman, such as the large number of street vendors.
Billboards, trash, debris, electric wires, buildings and automobiles are forms of visual pollution, he said, noting that overcrowding of an area also causes visual pollution that generates negative feelings among visitors.
Biltaji asked the capital’s residents to give him 100 days to notice qualitative changes in GAM’s services and the preparation of a deficit-free budget for the next year, packed with service projects.
During his visit, the mayor said GAM will focus on activating tourism and commercial activity in downtown Amman.
Some of the scenes in the city centre can be found in any town, but they need organisation and to be showcased in a civilised way, without obstructing the movement of pedestrians or the flow of traffic, he said.
During Jordan Television’s “Yised Sabahak” morning programme, Biltaji said GAM will work, in coordination with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, to examine the possibility of rerouting the flow of one of the Ras Al Ain water springs to run into the small river, known as Al Sail, in downtown Amman.
GAM will also plant jasmine trees on several streets and in neighbourhoods where such trees were common, especially in Jabal Luweibdah and Jabal Amman, in a bid to spread greenery and clean air, the mayor said, noting that the municipality received a donation of 100,000 saplings from the Marsa Zayed project.
Biltaji pledged to work with GAM employees to restore Ammanis’ confidence in the municipality and to boost residents’ participation in decision making.
Starting in October, the mayor said he will be available to meet with residents between 8am and 10am on Mondays and Thursdays at GAM headquarters in Ras Al Ain.
He also plans to begin a series of weekly tours of the capital’s neighbourhoods, starting with Marka, to meet residents and learn about their needs.
In addition, GAM will work out traffic solutions and establish parking areas to deal with congestion, the mayor said, adding that several voluntary initiatives will be launched to provide school students with the opportunity to take part in keeping their city clean.
On Saturday, Biltaji said the revamped Hashemite Square in downtown Amman will open during Eid Al Adha (the Muslim feast marking the end of the pilgrimage season), which is expected to start in mid-October according to the Islamic lunar calendar.
During a meeting with members of the Jordan Society of Tourism and Travel Agents, the mayor noted that GAM will work on encouraging tourism to the capital’s historical sites, such as the Citadel, the Roman Theatre and the Amman Nymphaeum, a GAM statement said.