One of the oldest and most popular parks in central Doha is set to close from Nov. 1 as it undergoes renovation works that are believed to be part of the Doha Grand Park project.
Al Rumaila Park, which overlooks the Corniche and is next to Qatar National Theater, will be shut to visitors for an undetermined period, just as the weather starts to cool down and more residents enjoy spending time outdoors.
The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) announced the closure through social media, although it did not give a time frame for the planned works.
The park was a popular picnic location and had a children’s playground, several small shops and a heritage center called Cultural Village. It was also the site of a busy branch of Thai Smile takeaway, which has now closed down, an employee of the Umm Ghuwailina outlet told Doha News.
Grand Park plans
The Rumaila construction appears to be connected to the large-scale Doha Grand Park project, which involves redeveloping a stretch of land from the Qatar Sports Club down to Al Rayyan Road, to create an urban green space similar to New York’s Central Park or Hyde Park in London.
The Grand Park project was apparently shelved two years ago, as insiders said there was a lack of consensus about design details, and a decision to prioritize Qatar’s numerous, ongoing infrastructure projects.
However, a source close to the project told Doha News this week that it was indeed going ahead.
He added that the plans have changed from their initial design, and development is slated to be rolled out in phases to minimize disruption to the surrounding areas. No timeline was mentioned.
The project’s implementation is being overseen by the Private Engineering Office, a state entity that is responsible for a number of significant development projects around Qatar, including the Al Messila hotel and spa resort on the site of Al Messila woods.
Qatar-based UrbaCon General Contracting (UCC) is believed to be responsible for designing and building the scheme, while the Doha office of KEO International was appointed as consultants when the project was first announced.
A KEO spokesman declined to talk to Doha News about the project, due to “client confidentiality agreements.”
Master plan film
However, the MMUP directed Doha News to a 10-minute YouTube video with Arabic commentary showing the master plan for the project, which features swathes of green, landscaped areas interspersed with sandy features.
According to the video, a boulevard that runs the length of the park would be used for ceremonial events, and the development would also have a museum, amphitheater, cafes and restaurants, children’s play areas, a mountain bike track and cycle rental facilities.
The film also shows horse and camel riding areas and a 150-meter mast, bearing a giant Qatar flag, in addition to a five-star hotel and a cultural village, which would include interpretations of different eras of civilization such as Roman, Andalusian, Damascan and European.
Some elements of the overall design are believed to have been changed recently, although it is not clear what these are.
The new park is also expected to incorporate the Doha Metro stations, which don’t feature in this film.
There is no timeline for construction of each stage, or when the the park is scheduled for final completion.
Are you sad to say goodbye to Rumaila? Send us your photos of the place and we may run a gallery in memory of the park over the weekend.