The newly-renovated Marina with its lush green grass and granite benches looks inviting. The Chennai Corporation is just about completing the work of renovating the Marina beach at a cost of Rs.25.92 crore.
“The major works including landscaping, seating arrangements, walkways and lighting are over. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi will soon inaugurate the renovated beach officially,” Mayor M. Subramanian said.
It was Governor Mounstuart Elphinstone Grant-Duff (1881-1886), who conceived and built the promenade along the beach and in 1884, christened it the Marina to serve “as a lung for thousands in quest of cooling breezes from the sea”.
A total of 14 galleries with seating arrangements have been created on the 2.8-km stretch between Triumph of Labour Statue and Light House. The pathways are walkers’ delight as those getting onto the walkway at the Labour Statue can go uninterrupted till the Light House. Earlier, there was no continuity in the pathway. The civic body also recently tried out new mechanical sweepers procured from Italy for cleaning the renovated footpath at the beach. Purchased at a cost of Rs. 6 lakh, the mechanical sweeper is said to have the capacity to clean the footpath stretching from four to six kilometres in an hour. At present, the footpath at the beach is over three kilometres.
The seating areas along the beach and walkways are lit with metal halide lamps. Lighting on the sand too has been improved.
Focus lights have been installed near the statues totalling 13, including those of Avvaiyar, Thiruvalluvar, Kambar and Subramania Bharathi. The skating rink behind the Gandhi Statue has been improved upon with hand rails and tiles on the periphery.
The pedestrian subway near Kannagi Statue has also been renovated on the lines of the beach with matching tiles and stainless steel handles.
A few months ago, a park opposite the Secretariat that was developed by the Chennai Corporation with a fountain, walkways, different courts and children’s play area had been inaugurated.