Dramatic Improvements in Paynesville City Deserve Commendation

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THE CITY OF PAYNESVILLE in Montserrado County is one of the fastest growing cities in Liberia in terms of population, commercial activities and infrastructural development.

PEOPLE ARE MOVING AWAY from old Monrovia to constructing residential and commercial duplexes in Paynesville which is ideally located, the first point of entry for people from about 10 of the 15 counties of Liberia.

THE CITY IS ALSO LOCATED on the main route to the only international airport, the Roberts International Airport making the look of the city a national concern at it gives first time visitors an idea about the look of Liberia.

IN MANY INSTANCES, a first glimpse of some structure or clean part of a country leaves a good memory with visitors and gives the impression that the country is on the right path to development.

DURING THE ENTIRE first term of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Paynesville was no different from the war years, a filthy looking and congested city, infested with criminals and what people knew about Paynesville was the possibility of getting robbed by criminals. A common phrase was coined “Lift you Up” referring to criminals constantly robbing people during board day.

COMMUTERS AND VEHICLES found difficult to move through Red Light due to huge stockpiled of dirt.  

SINCE THE APPOINTMENT of the current City Mayor Cyvette M. Gibson in 2012, from all look of things, Paynesville has transformed dramatically over the last few years.

THE BEAUTIFICATION OF the ELWA junction is one major achievement that set the stage in improving the image of Paynesville as first time visitors upon looking at ELWA junction will be eager to move further into Paynesville City.

A WATERFALL, SIGNBOARDS locating various communities and streets in Paynesville are all very unique to the city. The signboards create easy direction, fast movement for strangers and even people who do not know the large city very well.

FROM ELWA JUNCTION another beautification project was constructed right at the intersection of the Du Port road junction with a mini park, ideal for photo taking and other recreational purposes. These developments are rare to many older cities in Liberia including Buchanan, Grand Bassa, Harper in Maryland County and many other cities by Liberian standard.

WITH GARBAGE DISPOSAL A very serious problem facing the entire country, the Paynesville City Council introduced the “Buy Your Own Dirt” program where they pay people to bring their dirt to be collected for disposal. Even though due to the population of the city and the heavy commercial activities garbage is still a serious problem but unlike time past where it was difficult to pass through the stockpiled of garbage at the Red Light, things have changed greatly.

NOWADAYS, DUMP TRUCKS are visible collecting garbage as early at 10 pm until the following morning to clean the Red Light area thereby enabling people to return and start their trading in a clean environment in the morning.

FOR THE FIRST TIME, A MOTORCYCLE Hub was constructed, known as the A. B. Tolbert Motorcycle Hub, it provides motorcycle riders with some form of decency, where they can shelter during downpour of rain and where people wishing to ride a motorcycle can also wait to catch a rider instead of standing anywhere and waiting for a motorcycle moving randomly.

PAYNESVILLE CITY HAS ALSO been marketed internationally with the Mayor establishing sisterly relationships Minnesota in the United States of America and cities in Turkey.

THESE RELATIONSHIPS HAVE LED to support to Paynesville City in the form of earth moving equipment, buses and other logistical support. No other city in Liberia can boast of the level of organization at the Paynesville City Corporation. The Paynesville City Hall, once a makeshift place for parties is now one of the best places for wedding receptions, birthday parties and international conferences.

ALSO, PEOPLE GATHER THERE daily just to take photographs due to the decent look of the place with shinning flowers and other designs.

MAYOR GIBSON, ONE YEAR in office, in 2013, pushed for Paynesville to be part of an international program, 100 Resilient Cities a US$170 million effort launched by the Rockefeller Foundation meant to help cities around the world build resilience to social, economic, physical and other challenges.

By Forming Part Of Such Program, Paynesville City is working to be on par with the best cities in Africa including Cape Town (South Africa), Dakar (Senegal), Nairobi (Kenya), Kigali (Rwanda), Enugu and Lagos (Nigeria), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and other cities in the world.

TO ENSURE THAT PAYNESVILLE IS best suited to get full benefit from the 100 Resilient Cities Program, an expert in Health Policy and Planning is currently visiting Liberia as Guest of the Paynesville City Council.

LIZ AGBOR-TABI, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, City and Practice Management was quick to point out the numerous challenges facing cities around the world saying the Resilient City program is intended to help cities address these challenges.

THE TWO-YEAR PROGRAM WHEN implemented will see Paynesville reaching another level and with the level of work already done by Mayor Gibson and her team it is clear that her administration will definitely take the city to the next level.

THE VISITING EXPERT WAS UPBEAT that Paynesville was able to get through in forming part of such worldwide program; all pointing to the level of hard work Mayor Gibson and her team have done over the years.

EVEN MONROVIA CITY, THE CAPITAL of Liberia is not part of such program, so it is doubt that Mayor Gibson and her team have done some remarkable job since 2012 which requires commendation.

MAYORS OF OTHER CITIES IN LIBERIA need to learn from the hard work of Mayor Gibson and emulate her good example to help the country get some clean and organized cities, which are all part of the growth and development process.

LIBERIANS ARE KNOWN FOR PRAISE singing people when they are no longer around but Mayor Gibson and her current team deserve some recognition while they are still serving because they have done a tremendous job in transforming a once failed city to a place that people can point to as an example of a city.

LIBERIA NEEDS MORE CITY MAYORS with such vision and willingness to change for the better, therefore the dramatic changes in Paynesville City deserve the utmost commendation. 

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