Marikina as sports capital

ONE of Marikina’s greatest asset, aside from the shoe industry and its being a good governance model, is the Marikina Sports Park. More popularly knows as “sports center,” it is located along Sumulong Highway — bounded on the east by McDonald’s Avenue and on the west by Shoe Avenue.

This is one asset which the city government can optimize and use as anchor towards a new marketing positioning for the city that will hit two birds with one stone. The new positioning as “Sports Capital” will:

1. Complement and revitalize the ailing shoe industry; and,
2. Will solve the land-use problem of what to do with the permanent danger zones along the river.

Is there a need for a Sports Capital?

As it is, we cannot hold a global sporting event in one place in Metro Manila where venues for the different sports are within 5-10 minutes walk of each other and the athletes village. Our stadiums and arenas are spread out in different cities of the metropolis and even the provinces. Thus, we are rated low by organizers when it comes to preference as a venue for the Olympics, Asian Games, etc.

Where will the land for new sports venues come from?

A big stretch of land along the Marikina River is considered as a danger zone because of its being susceptible to flooding as proven by Typhoon Ondoy (2009) and the recent Habagat (2012). If people presently living here are relocated to higher grounds, then the land they vacate can become higher by dumping the silt and soil taken from the river bed when it is dredged. The developers can also use the latest “adaptive architecture” designs and technology in their structures.

How will the residents be convinced to relocate elsewhere?

Normally, it would be hard to convince them because of sentimental reasons and the fact that their present land

values will be substantially lower than its actual value.

However, if we are able to convince property developers to a “swap arrangement” where they build new townships in higher    areas of barangays Fortune, Parang, Marikina Heights, and Concepcion Dos for residents to transfer to in exchange for the land to be vacated, people might be convinced easily because they do not get to fork out a huge amount upfront for the peace of mind of living on safer grounds.

Why will property developers like Ayala, Megaworld, DMCI, Filinvest, etc. agree? Aside from ensuring a good return to their investments, it will be a good opportunity for them to showcase their latest “adaptive architecture” developments. The success of waterfront developments like Eton City along SLEX and Lakeshore along NLEX is proof that there is a market among the high-end AB market.

Is the swap arrangement concept feasible? There is actual proof of concept. According to urban planner Dr. Danielle Guillen of the Ateneo School of Government, a similar swap arrangement was done successfully in Japan years ago.

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