Last week, demolition was the talk of the town. From Piassa in the city center to Megengna, houses and stores are being torn down to make way for new construction projects. It is thought to be part of the city’s rebuilding scheme, which was put on hold for years due to public uproar and because officials were preoccupied with other issues, like as the war in North Ethiopia and internal conflicts throughout the country. Memorable establishments such as Piassa’s Channel Five Club and Turaco Restaurant have been demolished this week.
With the demolition of old houses in the town’s center, it appears that Old Piassa is preparing for a new look. Constructed during the Italian occupation, some were decaying and it was long debated whether they could be considered a heritage and preserved in their current state. Locals continue to maintain that it is this old houses that define Piassa, while officials appear to want to revamp the neighborhood as part of their modernization efforts. The city government has yet to identify a future course of action for all demolished sites.
The current demolition frenzy has affected not just Piassa, but also other dwellings and trading establishments. Many stores near the iconic Ambassador Park have been razed, with land cleared to make way for developers. According to sources, malls and residential complexes are likely to be built in this region.
State-hired daily labourers are waiting for the remaining traders whose stores are scheduled for demolition to vacate the premises. The roofs of the stores have been removed, and the labourers are ready to finish what they started. Police officers are stationed across the neighborhood. Few dwellings have been left standing, ready to be razed.
Contributed by Mesfin Solomon