On December 6, 2013, Nature’s Hope for Southern Andros, a community-based nonprofit conservation organization, made history by entering a relationship with the South Andros District Council and the Ministry of Agriculture Marine Resources and Local Government to restore a historic building in the Long Bay Cays community.
Photo 1. Members of the South Andros community, Local Government, members of Nature’s Hope for Southern Andros, and staff from the Northern Caribbean Program at the lease signing ceremony. Photo taken by Agnessa Lundy, The Nature Conservancy.
In the early 1900s in Long Bay Cays, South Andros, an administration building was constructed to support a local governmental body to address the community needs, provide required services, and implement a plan of action to advance the area’s development. At that time, this building served as the local government office, the community’s post office, courtroom, and jail house. As the population increased, the building was no longer able to efficiently service the local community. Government funds were therefore reallocated to support the development of a new administration complex, and as a result, the building deteriorated.
Photo 2. The South Andros Administration Complex, established in the early 1900s. Photo taken by Felicity Burrows, The Nature Conservancy.
The Nature Conservancy has supported Nature’s Hope over the last three years by engaging with local government and participating in community meetings to build support for the renovation of this building. We were honored to be a part of the ceremony last week that solidified the relationship between all the partners.
Photo 3. The official lease signing ceremony at the site of the old Administration Complex in Long Bay Cays. Photo taken by Eleanor Phillips, The Nature Conservancy.
Earlier this year, Ms. Alicia Oxley, a Historic Preservation Architect with Antiquities Museum and Monuments Corporation (AMMC), visited the site and provided guidance on best methods to renovate the building that will maintain its historical integrity. A structural engineer also visited the site to confirm the building would withstand large-scale renovation. A major goal of this renovation is to list the building with AMMC as a historic site for The Bahamas. As a result, Nature’s Hope and the Northern Caribbean Program will use Ms. Oxley’s recommendations to restore the building over the coming months.
Once completed, the building will act as an environmental education training center and office space for Nature’s Hope, who will continue to promote preservation of the island’s natural resources and cultural heritage. Additional features will include a meeting room which will be made available for community meetings and a museum to highlight the cultural and historical artifacts of Andros.
Renovating this building will be the first step in the Nature’s Hope project, South Andros Natural Development (SAND). Send a message to The Nature Conservancy or Nature’s Hope Facebook page for more information on the SAND project.