U.S. Ambassador Michele J. Sison paid a visit on October 23, to view the historic Dutch Fort and see the completion of the $52,000 grant made under the 2011 Ambassadorís Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).
Local partners have begun to rescue this national treasure, while simultaneously assisting to promote greater economic development through cultural preservation, says the U.S. Embassy in Colombo.
The project examined the conservation and re-use of the ancient Dutch Fort in Batticaloa as a key element in the development of the conflict ridden Eastern Province in Sri Lanka. By creating new livelihoods in the tourism industry, the project aims to make Batticaloa Fort a model of landmark development for the country.
It will revitalize the area while providing both visitors and the local community an example of the cultural diversity of the region. Funding through the AFCP enabled Environmental Planning Services (Pvt) Ltd and the Institute of Town Planners to carry out necessary surveys and landmark documentation in order to develop and preserve the site for future generations.
The Batticaloa Fort project was one of two AFCP awarded in 2011 in Sri Lanka; the other funded a similar preservation project with the historic Galle Fort.