George Town boardwalk site proposed to boost downtown

Drawing inspiration from famous promenades in Havana, Miami, New York and Paris, local architects have said they think a boardwalk linking downtown George Town to Seven Mile Beach will draw tourists, attract locals and 
energise businesses in the area. 

On 29 February, the Central Planning Authority considered an application for a 0.25-mile boardwalk/sidewalk on the seaside of North Church Street, running from the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal to the building that houses La Dolce Vita Restaurant. In the works for nearly two years, the project has gained support from the 16 landowners and businesses along the strip, more than half of whom are willing to pay for the section of the boardwalk that would traverse their land. 

The remainder of the funding would potentially be raised through individual donations, possibly in exchange for nameplates on benches, planters or pavers.  

As the boardwalk is intended to include tributes to the history of the area – such as boatbuilding, diving and snorkelling – families may be enticed to donate to ensure the recognition of relatives who were particularly influential in the area. 

Although at the moment the project would be wholly funded through private donations, when open, the boardwalk – which ranges in width from 5 to 10 feet – 
would be accessible by the public. 

Architect Robert Johnson, of project manager Chalmers-Gibbs Architects, said designers would use different materials in different places – for example, newly poured concrete where no pathway currently exists, or simple painted stripes where the existing sidewalk is sufficient. 

“We don’t want it to be too flashy, or too strange,” he said. 

While the name ‘boardwalk’ may conjure up images of actual wooden planks, the proposed boardwalk would have to be made of concrete or some other durable material in order to withstand battering by sea 
and storms.  

Designers have been collaborating with government planners, who suggested the boardwalk include adequate lighting so visitors may use the 
area at night. 

Mr. Johnson said the idea isn’t simply to provide a walkway so pedestrians no longer have to dodge automobile traffic. Rather, the goal is for the boardwalk to be a destination point where locals and visitors may experience the views of the sea and drive business to downtown establishments. 

The first phase of the proposed boardwalk would run from Royal Watler and go past the fish market, Hammerheads, Casanova Restaurant, Divers Down, Rackam’s, a private residence and Dolce Vita.  

The ultimate vision is for the boardwalk to extend all the way to Dixie Cemetery, near the three-way stop where North Church Street intersects with Eastern Avenue and becomes West Bay Road. That would provide a walkable link between George Town Harbour and Seven Mile Beach.

Please click here for expanded view of the site.

GT boardwalk

Aerial view of proposed North Church Street boardwalk. – Image: Submitted


  1. Architect Robert Johnson says re proposed George Town boardwalk, we don’t want it to be too flashy or strange. I say why not? – the flashier and the stranger the boardwalk is, the better in terms of attracting tourists to our shores. Look at Rio de Janeiro’s magnificent flashy and strange Copacabana boardwalk – world famous, and a splendid symbol of that country! A gorgeous boardwalk to 7 Mile Beach might be just the ticket to raise the profile of the Cayman Islands! Motifs to be featured in the new boardwalk could be welcomed from the artistic communities of the 3 islands, or there might be patches of yellow brick road with each of the bricks bearing names of donors (this worked quite well on Cayman Brac on the Bluff Quincentennial Park – where visitors can check out names of donors in perpetuity). As a Bracker, I surely wish architect Johnson would come up with an idea to bring tourists flocking to this sister island! The flashier and stranger the better, and soon!

  2. A boardwalk sounds like a great idea. It would also be a safe way to get to 7 mile beach without getting on the road thus reducing traffic levels. The 5-10 feet wide seems very narrow though. I would go at least 15-20 feet wide to facilitate two way bike traffic as well as pedestrian. What about an area along the walkway for vendors. If people could sample some local favorites along the way, that would also be attractive to many, if the land owners would agree.
    Great Idea, I look forward to seeing it happen and using it once built.

  3. We do need to focus more on pedestrain traffic in Cayman. Our patch work of sidewalks shows that there is poor planning in this regard – sidewalks that stretch 100 feet then nothing but road.
    Also, West Bay road needs more lights, and safe crossing for pedestrians using traffic lights (to stop the idiots that use the center lane for overtaking!) Every day, especially night, we see tourists trying to cross this dangerous road, some with children, only to be caught half way across as traffice won’t stop.

  4. I agree with those who call for a basic boardwalk. Lets see if this can be done simply and tastefully without needing to over build. Put some limitations on the architects or they will design another white elephant.

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