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Planners Want to Demolish Black Market Alley

Date Posted: 2000-04-21

Naha City planners have unveiled a plan to develop the Carp River area inside Naha’s Heiwa Dori shopping area. The area is better known to Americans as Black Market Alley. The plan calls for demolishing the existing maze of small shops and stalls to create a new bazaar area, small parks, a cultural center and a pedestrian street with trees and miniparks. Officials say that one of the main reasons the area has to be developed is that the Carp River running under the existing structures tends to flood every time there are heavy rains. Shizuko Omura, the chairman of the local area shopping mall association supports the plan. “This is a good plan” he says. “The structures in this area are getting old and floods are a constant problem.” But some shop owners worry the development may adversely affect their livelihood during building. Association director Kiohito Oshiro questions quarantees for the shop owners:”I am worried how Naha City is going to guarantee that we can make a living during the construction, and how much is it going to cost to put a new shop here once the building is complete.” The total cost of the proposed development is estimated at Y400 billion or about $3.8 billion. The central government has promised to foot 90 percent of the cost, but the rest should be paid by Naha City. Many doubt that Naha City is able to come up with its share of the cost. Should everything go as planned, the construction would start in 2004.

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