By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter

Nine public parks currently under construction in Qatar will have more facilities and attractions to better serve visitors, apart from being environment friendly.

"More fitness facilities and equipment, soft rubber tracks for walking, more bathrooms and toilets, and modified playgrounds for children," are among the attractions, an official told Gulf Times yesterday.

Facilities will be set up for the blind and for people with disabilities and special needs, explained Dalia Sallam, an agriculture engineer at the Public Parks Department of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP).

Speaking on the sidelines of a presentation to Doha Gardens Club members, she noted that visitors will find the new parks greener and colourful.

“These parks will also have better playgrounds suitable for children from two to five years, and for five to 12 years,” Sallam said while recalling that earlier the facilities in parks were only for small children.

Besides beautifying and making the parks environment-friendly, she said visitors will also enjoy free WiFi connection.

The new attractions such as lighted fountains, nurseries, barbeque and picnic areas and cafeterias will entice more families to spend their free time at these parks, according to Sallam.

Bicycle enthusiasts will find the bike lanes in some of the parks. The agriculture engineer said they will make sure the facilities are properly maintained. More security personnel will also be deployed to ensure the safety of all visitors.

MMUP’s Public Parks Department is responsible for the design, development and maintenance of public parks in Qatar.

Some of the new parks will recycle the water they use and tap solar energy to power a number of facilities and lighting. MMUP wants to raise public awareness on energy and water conservation.

About the now-closed Al Rumailah Park beside Doha Corniche, Sallam noted that Ashghal, the Public Works Authority, is doing excavation works to build a huge underground parking that would serve the increasing number of visitors who usually park their vehicles elsewhere.

“Once finished, we will do the landscaping and beautification since we already have the design of the park. Now we are just waiting,” she said.

Some of the parks are set to open before the end of this year, while the rest are expected to open next year.

MMUP is also reaching out to the private sector to get new ideas and suggestions for the design of future parks in the country.

During the presentation, some members of the Doha Gardens Club suggested constructing other recreational facilities such as tennis courts. One member said a lot of people in Doha want to spend their free time playing tennis.

Others find sitting areas (benches) helpful and relaxing to those (particularly older age groups) who want to read books or chat with their families and friends at the park.

“Once approved by the Ministry, we will implement the ideas we gathered for the new designs of future projects,” Sallam pointed out, while reiterating the importance of public and private collaboration in protecting and preserving public parks.

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