Monumentsfund Aruba celebrates its 24th anniversary
- June 18, 2020
- Posted by: Mircla Nava
- Category: Uncategorized
Twenty-four years ago, Monuments fund Aruba (SMFA) was funded with the goal to purchase, restore and maintain monumental buildings of Aruba. The first project SMFA financed was the restoration of the City Hall and the Ex Hotel Colombia. After twenty-four years SMFA currently owns thirteen monumental buildings and three objects. These last years we have been focusing on maintenance. We are very proud as foundation that our monuments are in a very good condition and are part of city walks but are also more and more becoming the protagonist of photography’s shared around the world. We also contribute to the expansion of knowledge about Aruban Heritage with educational programs but also organizing activities like Wiki Loves Monuments Aruba and Fiesta di Cunucu to connect the community to our monuments. With a team of seven guided by our board, we work together to preserve the past for the future and face all the challenges we find on the way.
As a foundation we have faced some challenges through these years. For more than ten years we have not been subsidized any more by the government making us only dependent on our rent incomes. Thanks to our renters, being either Government of Aruba or private partners we have been able to keep preserving our monuments all these years. This year we have had our biggest challenge yet. The crisis did not only affect us but the whole community. But we have chosen to face these challenges with positivism and go on with the projects that were already planned before the crisis. We have been able to put seven projects on the fast track projects list of the government so we can help create jobs and stimulate the economy.
Despite existing for 24 years we still get excited with e each new project. No matter if it’s the lime kiln in Rancho or the first pharmacy of Aruba we make sure to execute every project according to the rules of the Monuments bureau. Each new restoration projects bring their own challenges with it but the biggest challenge is the repurposing of the buildings. For example, we have the Water towers in San Nicolas and Oranjestad that were originally built as a water tower but are now an office and museum. We are also currently working on the feasibility study for the water tanks at Kibaima to repurpose the tanks as space for innovative agriculture, office or horeca. Another project that will be starting soon is the Ex Botica Aruba. This building was built in 1925 by Addison Croes and together with his friend Gustave Nouel they started the first pharmacy of Aruba. The stories behind each monument is an added value to them. This is the reason why we have been focusing also on research on the history of each new restoration project.
All protected monuments on the island are property of either the government of Aruba or SMFA. The government has been working these past years on the protection of private monuments. Meanwhile SMFA has been working on a Revolving Fund. There is a commission already working on the revolving fund. The goal is to subsidize or offer low interest loans to owners of private protected monuments in the future to help them preserve their monuments.
Another important factor in the success of Monuments fund Aruba through these years is the cooperation and contacts with local and international, commercial and financial organizations. No matter if its for a low interest loan or a donation to our restoration or educational projects we can always count on the cooperation of different organizations. We also have a good communication with different organizations on the heritage field around the world. We attend different conventions and have in various occasions been approached to speak about our experience as a monument’s foundation. In 2015 the Dutch Caribbean Heritage platform has been funded by the Dutch Caribbean islands to work together on funding of projects and knowledge exchange. Locally we also work in cooperation with different organizations on the cultural and heritage field and have been honored to have volunteers who are always ready to help.
For those who are interested in becoming a volunteer or need some advice on how to restore their monumental house or building or if interested to rent a monument, they can always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SMFA who’d like to thank everyone that has contributed to our foundation through these years to help us preserve the past for the future.